Rate increase unreasonable Richard Slack, February 20, 1987

NOTE: This report looks like notes I produced for branch and constituency meetings. It was clearly an absolutely critical time in the life of the council, a time which more or less determined everything that followed. See also letter to Richard written at this time.


THIS is the way Richard Slack described it. "Like people riding in a car downa motorway. We see there has been a crash ahead and we decide to drive oninto it to see what happens and as Pact of solidarity. The only trouble is thatwe are not in the car on our own. We are taking the people of the boroughwith us." The people who joined Richard in voting against ratecapping (whichis now inevitable unless there is an election and the Tories lose it) weremyself (Jo Brind), Vi Smith, Jerry Miles, Steve Peirpoint, John Walsh, Narrinder Matharoo and Jack Kaye. Even so the group decided to back thehigh rate strategy---a strategy which is very likely to lead toconsiderable difficulties in just a few months (probably July) when ratecappingis announced.


Despite some (in my opinion) ill judged opposition from the Chingford LabourParty the Leisure Committee is pressing ahead with plans to develop amassive leisure complex at the site of the old Larkswood Pool. This is a controversial subject because in order to develop the site the council isplaning to develop this site with a private developer. In order to make itcommercial the new complex will have to be open for very long hours andvirtually every day of the year---it will close Christmas day and Boxing Daybut that's about it! It is also planned to charge about £3.50 a head forentrance, possibly with concessions for the unemployed etc. Several possibilitieshave been looked at for Larkswood, a rather dilapidated open air pool, and thisscheme is almost certainly the end of the line. If Chingford Labour Party issuccessful in persuading the council not to do this scheme then Larkswood mayhave to be closed and goodness knows what will happen to the site. At presentthe pool is losing substantial amounts of money.


The environmental health department have also asked councillors to pick out eyesores which could usefully be the subject of environmental improvement schemes. Can you suggest any?


The DHA is panicking about the impact of the rates increase. It's going to costthem a quarter of a million pounds extra.


Voluntary sector workers all over London are being given redundancynotices because of the inability of the London Borough Grants Authority (the so called Richmond scheme) to set a budget. The Tories want to spend £26m,the Alliance £30m and Labour £32m. The budget has to be agreed by 2/3 ofauthorities and it has only one more chance to make the decision before theGovernment takes over and sets a budget for it. Admittedly Waltham Forestdoes not get much from this but you have to pay for it in your rates.


Work is starting on a new district unitary plan. Since abolition of theGLC the council now has to make a plan covering all aspects. This will involveextensive public consultation late this year and early next year.


Public meetings on decentralisation are to be held on Sybourn Junior Schoolon April 30 (covering Bakers Arms and Lea Bridge) and at LeytonstoneLibrary on May 5 (covering Leytonstone and Whipps Cross).


Armajit was removed from office as chair of technical services and direct labour committees not for the bins mess-- group exonerated him on that issue-- but for breaking the whip at council by voting against the report on the youth service worker industrial tribunal. Frank (who abstained on this issue--- also breaking the whip) was removed as a junior whip and resigned as chair of race relations. Narrinder resigned as chair of curriculum sub. This issue has got into the Daily Mirror (Paul Foot called the three campaigning councillors) and really is gratuitous violence. the events actually happened when the Tories and Liberals ran the council yet Labour group is tearing itself apart over the issue.

See Gang of Five stories
black youth and Community Officer Errol Mathura