Barnet Post

Barnet Post

Labour sets priorities for Barnet Council after big election win

Labour councillor set to lead Barnet Council speaks following last week's election win

Hero for Labour sets priorities for Barnet Council after big election win
Barry Rawlings (credit Barnet Labour)

Barnet’s Labour group has set out its top five commitments following its historic election win last week – including a £2million council tax refund.Barnet’s Labour group has set out its top five commitments following its historic election win last week – including a £2million council tax refund.

Group leader Barry Rawlings thanked residents for putting their trust in Labour and said the election result, which saw Labour win outright control of the council for the first time with a 19-seat majority, was a “big mandate for change”.Group leader Barry Rawlings thanked residents for putting their trust in Labour and said the election result, which saw Labour win outright control of the council for the first time with a 19-seat majority, was a “big mandate for change”.

The first key pledge is to pay back the money raised from the 1% hike in the adult social care council tax precept, which was added to residents’ bills last month.The first key pledge is to pay back the money raised from the 1% hike in the adult social care council tax precept, which was added to residents’ bills last month.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Rawlings said the refund, which would put around £2million back in residents’ pockets over the course of a year, would “definitely go ahead” to help local people with the cost-of-living crisis.Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Rawlings said the refund, which would put around £2million back in residents’ pockets over the course of a year, would “definitely go ahead” to help local people with the cost-of-living crisis.

“We’re also hoping it will boost local businesses,” he added. “It is not a huge amount per person, but £2million in the local economy we hope will have a beneficial impact.”“We’re also hoping it will boost local businesses,” he added. “It is not a huge amount per person, but £2million in the local economy we hope will have a beneficial impact.”

Cllr Rawlings said the refund would happen this year, probably during the autumn, adding it would be “straightforward” for those who pay by direct debit but that details of how to repay other residents needed to be finalised.Cllr Rawlings said the refund would happen this year, probably during the autumn, adding it would be “straightforward” for those who pay by direct debit but that details of how to repay other residents needed to be finalised.

The next key commitment is to “protect and enhance green spaces and declare an immediate climate emergency”. Cllr Rawlings said he had already declared a climate emergency after the election result was announced, and it will be formally minuted at the next full council meeting this month.The next key commitment is to “protect and enhance green spaces and declare an immediate climate emergency”. Cllr Rawlings said he had already declared a climate emergency after the election result was announced, and it will be formally minuted at the next full council meeting this month.

“Declaring a climate emergency in itself is not enough,” he said. “But it shows our commitment to do something about it – to have sustainability being a common theme running through everything we do during the next four years.”“Declaring a climate emergency in itself is not enough,” he said. “But it shows our commitment to do something about it – to have sustainability being a common theme running through everything we do during the next four years.”

A further key pledge is to “stand up to developers for more affordable homes and against tower-block blight”.A further key pledge is to “stand up to developers for more affordable homes and against tower-block blight”.

One particularly controversial development scheme approved during the Conservative administration was the Hendon Hub plan for student flats and facilities for Middlesex University on sites near The Burroughs, Hendon. Cllr Rawlings said the Labour administration would have meetings with the university and developers and “look at what improvements we can make that are more sympathetic to the wishes of local residents”.One particularly controversial development scheme approved during the Conservative administration was the Hendon Hub plan for student flats and facilities for Middlesex University on sites near The Burroughs, Hendon. Cllr Rawlings said the Labour administration would have meetings with the university and developers and “look at what improvements we can make that are more sympathetic to the wishes of local residents”.

“Once permission has been granted, it has a legal enforcement,” he said. “But I think there are a lot of possibilities, and we will strive hard to make improvements to the scheme, which would be about reducing the height and density and so on.“Once permission has been granted, it has a legal enforcement,” he said. “But I think there are a lot of possibilities, and we will strive hard to make improvements to the scheme, which would be about reducing the height and density and so on.

“I am not against everything there – some of the old 1960s buildings people will not miss. We will be urgently talking to all the parties and hopefully making improvements and enhancing the quality of what is being provided.”“I am not against everything there – some of the old 1960s buildings people will not miss. We will be urgently talking to all the parties and hopefully making improvements and enhancing the quality of what is being provided.”

The two remaining commitments are to protect weekly bin collections and bring back the community skips service; and to invest in more CCTV, better lighting and community safety hubs.The two remaining commitments are to protect weekly bin collections and bring back the community skips service; and to invest in more CCTV, better lighting and community safety hubs.

The council leader and other appointments will be officially confirmed at the authority’s annual general meeting, which is due to take place at 7pm on Tuesday, 24th May, at Hendon Town Hall.The council leader and other appointments will be officially confirmed at the authority’s annual general meeting, which is due to take place at 7pm on Tuesday, 24th May, at Hendon Town Hall.

Barnet Labour group’s top five commitments to Barnet:Barnet Labour group’s top five commitments to Barnet:

    Rebate residents this year's 1% council tax increase;Protect and enhance green spaces and declare an immediate climate emergency;Invest in more CCTV, better lighting and community safety hubs;Protect weekly bin collections and bring back the community skips service;Stand up to developers for more affordable homes and against tower-block blight.
  1. Rebate residents this year's 1% council tax increase;

    Rebate residents this year's 1% council tax increase;Rebate residents this year's 1% council tax increase;

  2. Protect and enhance green spaces and declare an immediate climate emergency;

    Protect and enhance green spaces and declare an immediate climate emergency;Protect and enhance green spaces and declare an immediate climate emergency;

  3. Invest in more CCTV, better lighting and community safety hubs;

    Invest in more CCTV, better lighting and community safety hubs;Invest in more CCTV, better lighting and community safety hubs;

  4. Protect weekly bin collections and bring back the community skips service;

    Protect weekly bin collections and bring back the community skips service;Protect weekly bin collections and bring back the community skips service;

  5. Stand up to developers for more affordable homes and against tower-block blight.

    Stand up to developers for more affordable homes and against tower-block blight.Stand up to developers for more affordable homes and against tower-block blight.