October 25 2014 Latest news:
by Sam Blewett, Reporter
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Up to 100,000 flyers “warning” Havering residents of the merger of back office services with Newham will be distributed by the leader of the Independent Residents’ Group.
Cllr Jeff Tucker has long opposed the merger which other councillors describe as cost saving and as having no negative impacts on residents.
Leader of the Residents’ Association, Cllr Clarence Barrett, said: “It’s very sad that this person misinforms people. All the figures in the flyer are wrong.”
His ward, Cranham, was one of the first wards to be targeted with 5,000 leaflets.
Cllr Steven Kelly, leader of Havering Council, said: “The figures in the flyer are simply wrong and the figures that have been worked out are in the public domain – which we have repeated several times.”
But Cllr Tucker warns in his flyer that “Havering will cease to be an independent and accountable council” and he is sending the flyers out using his personal funds to let people know. He said: “It’s a disaster for the area.
“So far we have distributed 35,000 – as long as my troops can keep on walking, I will keep on printing.”
Cllr Tucker also thinks that the merging of back office services will mean the entire councils will eventually become one.
“We will have a full blown merger, it’s only a matter of time,” he said. “The only way we can get out will be very expensive. It’s like we have a prenuptial agreement. We are stuffed.”
However, Cllr Barrett pointed out that at least 95 per cent of English councils are sharing services with other councils.
While believing that a merger with Newham is a threat to the council independence, Cllr Tucker concedes that a merger with Brentwood and Thurrock wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
“We originally come from Essex,” he said. “And they are better run councils in line with us.”
He criticises the state of unemployment and homelessness in Newham. “They don’t rent rooms, they rent mattresses,” he said.
Newham mayor, Sir Robin Wales, said: “This rogue councillor is known for his desire to twist the truth for political ends and his comment about mattresses is an insulting lie.”
Cllr Tucker claims to have had a “massive response” from Havering’s residents so far.