Thought I'd tune in to listen to Ken interviewing Roger Evans - GLA Tory leader on his LBC show. A couple of very disturbing facts came out during the course of the show. I'd be rather interested to here what Boris Johnson's cheerleaders have to say about these. Firstly Ken stated that when he lost the election, he left reserves in the kitty of £1.5 Billion. The new Boris budget plans for this to diminish to £150 million. Basically, he's keeping tax down by raiding the piggybank. If anything at all unexpected happens, there won't be the cash to pay for it. This seems to be current Tory policy. Barnet did the same thing with the council tax. Now why would any authority be so stupid as to take such a risk? Well it strikes me that the Tories know there is an election coming. No one stands out in the street protesting against tax cuts paid for out of the budget. The Tories know that if they can keep taxes down, people won't look too hard to see how that's been achieved. There are quite a few marginals in London (not least Finchley, where council leader Mike Freer is standing). Their game plan is to say "Look, Tories keep taxes low".
Well, we are being conned, these aren't tax cuts. They are deferred Tax rises, which risk the family silver. I cannot think of any sound politician cutting reserves by 9/10ths at a time such as this.
Another interesting thing struck me when I heard about this figure. The Mayor had a reserve many times bigger than Barnet. How much did he lose in Iceland? Nothing as far as I can see. It is no secret that I am a Ken Livingstone fan. There are many policies which Ken champions that I support. The one thing I never ever expected to be able to do was hold Ken's financial policies up as an example to the Tories, I always thought this was Ken's one weakness. It seems not.
It won't get the juices flowing or make too many headlines, but we are risking a nightmare with Boris Johnson's policy of destroying the reserves continues. The same can be said of the Tories in Barnet.