Short-term budgets are no longer enough

Columnists
Columnists

For far too long Crawley Borough Council has been in a state of chaos, with key decisions being postponed and Conservative in-fighting dominating the council’s business.

We’ve been left with a council budget with no sense of aspiration for the town and without any Local Plan at all, leaving the town vulnerable to hostile development.

We live in a great town, but one which is being let down by local Conservatives who lack any aspiration for Crawley.

We need to get the council back on track by re-focusing on the issues which have the most impact upon people’s lives. Labour’s plan for Crawley can be summed up in three words: jobs, homes, community.

Over the next couple of months we will be contacting residents across the town to discuss Labour’s positive plan for the town, policies which focus on ensuring that residents can get a decent job, that every resident has a place to call home and which work to grow a stronger community.

We live in difficult times and councils are preparing for further budget reductions in the years ahead but that makes it more, not less, important that we plan for the long-term, rather than resorting to clever accountancy to hide budget deficits as the Conservative council has done in recent years. Labour left the Conservatives a council with over £100m invested in reserves, providing a regular source of income for the long-term, today only a fraction of that £100m is free from spending commitments.

The council should follow the example of other Labour authorities and look for ways to increase income from the private sector by selling services, we need to change the way that the council works with other organisations to provide services more effectively and more efficiently and we must commit to putting money back into investments once the council’s income increases again.

Short-term budgets are no longer enough. By focusing on the issues which matter to residents and planning for the long-term we can give the town back its sense of pride and ensure that residents have a council which is on their side again.