Where did the Ward Working money go?

Patricia Harrison fails to save Preston Library

Cllr. Patricia Harrison - Labour, Preston

In an era of cuts to libraries, disabled services and nurseries (to name a few), the council chose not to cut a whopping £800,000 Ward Working Fund, apparently designed to improve local areas.

Just half of this could save all 6 local libraries, which more than 83% of the borough want kept open. Half of this Fund is actually spent on just admin, leaving around £20,000 per ward to be spent on essentials like flowerbeds and noticeboards.

So who spends this sizeable chunk of taxpayers money? Your councillors. Without consultation.

This system assumes that councillors always act in the best interests of their ward. Yet, in Preston, both Jean Hossein (Lab) and Patricia Harrison (Lab) refused to defend our library, voting to close it in April. The same happened among the 3 Labour councillors in Barn Hill, Abdi Aden and Shafique Mohammed remained silent and Judith Beckman told us:

“They should ALL be closed!!

And with the 3 opposition councillors in Kenton conspicuous by their absence during the biggest campaign ever to hit the area, questions are raised about how any councillor so out-of-touch with their electorate choose to spend this money.

So how was it spent this year? The previously unpublished breakdowns are below (thanks to M for this and no thanks to Brent Council). With the impending loss of the Strathcona Social Centre for the learning disabled and Preston Library, not one penny has been offered to provide alternative spaces of projects to mitigate these losses.

In Preston, 83% of these funds has been spent by our Labour councillors on a single part of the ward, the Hirst Crescent Estate off East Lane (an area considered a Labour stronghold). More than £3000 was spent on a graffiti workshop and another vague £2,500 to “encourage use of Lambert Walk community hall”, clearly money well -spent as none of us had even heard of the place until we saw the breakdowns below.

So here is the expenditure for wards affected by the closure of Preston library. Judge for yourself:

Preston

£7,870 – worshop to empower Hirst Crescent youth in health and social issues.
£3,254 for a grafitti workshop for young people in Hirst Crescent Estate.
£2,500 to encourage people to use Lambert Walk Community Centre near Hirst Crescent.
£2,500 Youth radio training for 30 young people in Hirst Crescent.
£2,780 for burglary prevention equipment to people in burglary hot spots.
£350 security mirror, Ambleside Gardens.

Barnhill

£5,350 – Chakhill football project – pitch hire and team costs
£5,000 – Chalkhill Primary school temporary swimming pool for £5,000
£4,000 – Somali Youth project
£2,170 – Chalkhill DJ project for youth
£1,000 – Chalkhill allotments gardening project
£600 – Manga art session in Brent Town Hall Library
£350 – purchase of security equipment for vulnerable elderly people.

Northwick Park

£11,000 – CCTV at Northwick Park pavilion
£5,500 – tree planting across the Pebworth and Sudbury Court estates to replace lost trees
£3,254 – graffiti workshop for youth

Kenton

£10,000 – refurbishment of KULANU community centre and kitchen
£4,887 – Albanian Union ‘Mother Tereza’ – to develop and run a cultural music/arts programme
£2,000 – support for residents to develop an organisation to improve Woodcock Park
£1,893 – funding of woodcock nursery equipment to support and develop community outreach.
£1,092 – purchase of equipment for Kenton Safer Neighbourhoods Team to reassure people about crime issues
£149 – support for Silverholme residents and Mount Stewart School’s bulb project to raise awareness of polio

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Posted on December 12, 2011, in Council Spending and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Where did the Ward Working money go?.

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