Labour-run Ealing Council has rebuffed Ealing Liberal Democrats which it says has “resorted to baseless scaremongering”. The response follows a statement by Lib Dems over what it says is a £4m overspend on council services six months into the new financial year.
In a statement, the official opposition to Ealing Labour said: “If spending continues at this rate Ealing will exhaust its reserves at year end. It shows that Labour are not able to manage or control their spending appropriately at a time of significant pressure. If spending continues at this rate Ealing will exhaust its reserves at year end. It shows that Labour are not able to manage or control their spending appropriately at a time of significant pressure.”
The opposition party also added its concerns over the failure of house builder Henry Construction which went bust earlier this year leaving a number of developments across Ealing unfinished.
They added: “This Labour administration have made many poor housing decisions – it remains unclear, almost £18m on, how much (if any) of the £40m invested in Henry Construction will be recouped and what is happening with the 145 new homes promised by the supplier (enough to house half of Meath and Marston Court). How many more suppliers are teetering on the edge?
“Labour rhetoric is all about building affordable homes but at what price? Affordable houses are being built by being subsided by private market sales, often to overseas buyers. How much more will be spent to replace Labour and Henry’s failures? Together Ealing Council and developers are irreversibly changing the character of borough, driving up house prices and concreting over the borough with luxury towers!”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Busuttil, opposition spokesperson on finance and resources said: “Liberal Democrats are concerned that in this challenging environment costs are escalating in an uncontrolled way. The clear and present danger is that construction companies are teetering on the edge of bankrupting as is Ealing Council”.
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Councillor Steve Donnelley, cabinet member for inclusive economy of Ealing Council called Ealing Liberal Democrats claims “baseless scaremongering”.
He said: “It is baffling that the Liberal Democrats have chosen to hide behind a press release on the financial position of the council when they did not raise any concerns about it at the most recent Cabinet meeting, when it was discussed.”
Councillor Donnelley added: “The press release they have issued is riddled with inaccuracies and fundamental misunderstandings. Instead of engaging constructively on the difficult decisions the council – like all local authorities – has to make about its finances, the Liberal Democrats have resorted to baseless scaremongering. It’s disappointing.”