Can I make a suggestion? If any members of the local Tory Party come knocking on your door, ask them why the council can't afford £45,000 to maintain services for disabled children at Mapledown Special School. You will get a slapped arse faced look and a sorry tale of how hard times are. They will tell you that the council has to make hard choices and that they needed to cut this budget to keep other vital services running (like their own allowances).
If they say anything that implies there ain't enough cash in the tin, show them this article.
This explains how Boris Johnson and our Tory Council have conspired to spend £1.4 million on a few park benches and trees in North Finchley. The Council dobbed in £380,000 towards this expenditure. According to the article the money has been spent on the following
"These have included 20 new trees being planted with lighting around Tally Ho corner and the high street, new benches and a new set of historic plaques on the railings of the Tally Ho pub."
What sort of trees are these? What sort of lights? What sort of benches? And what sort of plaques?
They have also been "revitalising three empty units in the arcade". Now forgive me for my cynicism, but am I alone in thinking that this is completely bonkers, especially when there are special schools getting cuts to their budgets. Politicians always launch schemes like this before elections. They hope we are to stupid to see it for what it is.
If they want to revitalise the High Street, they should have business friendly parking, rates concessions for start up companies, encouragement for local chambers of commerce. Improvements should use matched funding, where traders spend some of their own money and get a rates rebate in return. That way entrepreneurs would take ownership and make changes that really worked. What has happened is that consultants have been bussed in, charged a fortune and will disappear. A similar scheme was undertaken in High Barnet a few years ago. £400,000 was spent, would you know if you went back today?
I doubt Boris or Richard Cornelius would be so generous to North Finchley if there wasn't an election and I doubt they'd be so heartless to Mapledown School if they thought there were any votes in it. In May you can pass your verdict. What is a better way to spend money? Mapledown special school or a few park benches in Finchley?