Friday, 5 March 2010

Hackney Labour Councillors - Budget defence by blogging

Hackney Central's Labour councillors appear keen to crush their opposition as early as possible.

According to the Hackney Central Labour blog, the Greens offer "reckless proposals" in their alternative budget that will hit the poorest hardest.

The blog criticises the Conservative Party saying: "They have shown how unprepared they are and how little effort they have made in offering the people of Hackney an alternative. Right before our elections in May - the Tories have failed before the firing gun has even been set off."

The Lib Dems got off lightly with HCL briefly saying that their policies would be annoying and unhelpful if they were ever put into practice.

Hackney Central Labour sounded unworried. This may have more to do with a historically loyal electorate than any policies. The 2006 election results (with a 32% turnout) and the 2002 election results (31% turnout) in the ward both saw Labour win comfortably.

Over at We Love Stoke Newington the mood wasn't quite so aggressive - the only criticism from its Labour Councillor authors was for an unnamed free local paper - (might that be the Hackney Heckler?)

We Love Stoke Newington said: "There have been some misleading reports in a local free newspaper about budget cuts - we'd like to reassure you that this is not the case - these are different economic times, but due to managing the Council's finances well, we're able to freeze council tax and continue to invest in key services."

(Could this article in PR Week, by Hackney's head of Communications, Polly Rance, also be described as misleading too? "Talk of spending cuts in an election climate often sends a chill through communications departments. Comms teams know full well that their budgets are a prime target for cuts in manifesto pledges. Now is the time, more than ever, for us to prove our value, not just to our organisations, but to the residents we serve.")

Labour Councillors in Stoke Newington Central face a more real threat than their colleagues over at Hackney Central.

The 2006 local elections results for Stoke Newington Central show that Labour Councillors faced a threat from the Green Party - two Green candiates won more than 700 votes each while the poorest performing Labour councillor won around 900 votes.

The results for the 2009 by-election in Stoke Newington Central - to replace Labour Councillor Jamie Carswell - saw Labour with 48% of the vote compared to the Green's 32%.

The results for the 2002 elections in Stoke Newington Central showed a more comfortable lead for Labour suggesting that support for the Green Party in the ward has gained momentum since 2002.


  1. The partisan squabbling has started due to the election being so close. After the election, I'm planning on getting them all together because the £40 million shortfall is a real threat. Pretending either that next year won't happen or that the economic crisis will bypass Hackney is daft.

  2. Good idea - I hope you do it whether you win or lose. The recent Hackney Citizen story gives the impression that no one's going to be straight about how much cash Hackney needs or how it will get hold of it. I could do with a basic lesson on how the funding system works and how this fits in with the council's budget.

    I don't know if Hackney Council can be blamed, but it feels like efforts are made by everyone to keep the whole process as opaque as possible.

    I tried to get figures on Hackney Council grants - how they compare year on year - from Hackney Council, The Department for Communities and Local Government, London Councils, ONS and the GLA. All said that such figures don't exist because the parameters for grant funding keep changing. Is this true?

    Apparently grant funding now constitutes 85% of the cash councils get from Central Government, down from 95% over the last few years. Does this mean that 15% of funding decisions are made on political grounds?

    At the moment it feels like Hackney could have the rug pulled out from under it. For instance, is there a politician who could say how much Operation Trident is worth to Hackney and how easily this bonus could be removed - and with what effect?

  3. I don't mean I think the Hackney Citizen story is opaque - the opposite. But when digested with the comments I wasn't sure what to think.