'No Confidence' Vote In Top Merton Councillor

Opposition criticise budget work

Opposition councillors have tabled a 'no confidence' vote in Merton council's Cabinet member for Finance, Mark Allison, ahead of the 2013/14 budget debate.

The council's Conservative group claim that Councillor Allison (pictured below) does not have the ability to carry out his duties and "deliver value" to residents in the borough.

Their motion will be debated at the next full council meeting on February 6.

Shadow Finance spokesman Councillor Suzanne Grocott said: "Councillor Allison has time and time again shown he is not up to the job. The budget papers he has produced were delivered late; are incomplete; and demonstrate a lack of the transparency and openness that the public should expect from the man who spends their money.

"He has made drastic cuts to vital services whilst at the same time under spending against the budget by more than those same services cost to provide. In other words, residents have lost services for absolutely no reason whatsoever. This is appalling incompetence and shows he lacks any cohesive strategy for managing the council’s finances. We all deserve much better and that's why we say it is time for him to go."

The Conservatives have produced a list of their claims about Councillor Allison:

  • Failed to explain how he intends to spend the tens of millions of pounds he has put into reserves
  • Been unable, despite repeated questioning, to say how many people work for Merton Council and at what cost
  • Refused to make certain budget savings even when they have already been agreed by Full Council e.g. a £20,000 cut to Trade Union payments
  • Not investigated whether other suggested savings could be made to services such as the Council's translation services and the commercial waste service
  • Consistently been unable to answer questions on whether some efficiency savings proposed for 2014-17 could be taken earlier.

But Councillor Allison replied: "The Tories are two-faced, criticising Labour when Labour has delivered three years of council tax freezes and the Tories put council tax up.

"Perhaps they're embarrassed because while we are protecting services and keeping council tax low, while their government has slashed funding for council services and they have voted against our council tax freezes.

"They're too divided between the new Tea Party Tories and their few remaining moderates to tell us what they would do instead.

"I’m sorry the nasty party is back, but I wish that instead of playing games these two-faced Tories would join with Labour and the other parties in finding a constructive way to deliver low taxes and good services in these difficult times."

January 30, 2013