�16m more cuts approved by Havering Council cabinet

Havering councillors approved a further �16m of cuts at Wednesday night’s cabinet meeting.

Council leader Cllr Michael White (Conservative, Squirrels Heath) said that he hoped the extra �4m that the council needs to save will come from changes to government grants.

The cuts come on top of the �20m already agreed last year.

The administration said the cuts would come about through increased efficiency, less bureacracy and thinking differently.

Cllr Clarence Barrett (Residents Association, Cranham) said it would have been “beneficial for us and for the public in general if you’d had more detailed information in the report” about how exactly the cuts were going to be made.

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Cllr Keith Darvill (Labour, Heaton) asked if the council could set up extra scrutiny committees so that the cuts could be examined in more detail. He said: “If we allotted just five minutes to each item (in the report) we’ll take seven hours.”

When told that the committee system was already established and the cabinet was there was ample opportunity to ask questions of officers or councillors, Cllr Darvill took around three hours asking questions about most of the 83 points in the report.

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They ranged from the specific to the vague such as: “Could you explain a little more about that?”

Early on in the meeting Cllr Barry Tebbut (Conservative, Brooklands), said: “What’s the standing orders time because I just need to phone my wife and tell her not to go to bed?”

At one stage Cllr Steven Kelly (Conservative, Emerson Park) responded to a question by listing, from memory, each individual type of walking stick and Zimmer-frame that the council provides residents.

Cllr David Durant (Independent Residents’ Group, Rainham & Wennington) left the meeting before he was offered the chance to put questions to the cabinet.

Cabinet members approved the budget at 11.05pm.

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