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Town hall chief says Brent is in a ‘healthier place’ financially while revealing plans to hike council tax and dim street lights to save cash

PUBLISHED: 12:48 25 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:09 25 October 2016

Cllr Margaret McLennan is the deputy leader of the council

Cllr Margaret McLennan is the deputy leader of the council

Archant

The council’s deputy leader has been slammed for claiming the borough was in a ‘far healthier place’ despite plans to hike parking charges and dim street lights to save cash.

Pete Firmin is from Brent FightbackPete Firmin is from Brent Fightback

Cllr Margaret McLennan made the claim last night at a cabinet meeting which included the launch of next year’s budget.

She said: “We are in a far healthier place than we were, principally because we brought in strategies about how to income generate and how we are going to invest to try and mitigate some potential savings.

“I’m not saying it’s easy because it’s not but where we were before hand and where we are now, it’s a far more comfortable place and far more comfortable journey but of course we still want to go and listen to our residents as to exactly where we’re going, the right direction.”

Proposals under the new budget includes increasing council tax by almost four per cent, dimming street lights in areas deemed to be ‘appropriate’ to save £100,000 and making £800,000 worth of cuts to care and mental health services.

Cllr Muhammed Butt is the leader of the councilCllr Muhammed Butt is the leader of the council

The council also plan to introduce a new charge for bulk waste to be collected the next day which will generate an estimated £250,000 a year,

Pete Firmin, from anti-cut group Brent Fightback, hit out at the deputy leader’s claims.

He said: “Margaret McLennan never listens to residents.

“As for a more comfortable position – the council are making cuts all over the place. I don’t know who’s in the most comfortable position but I don’t think it’s the people in the borough.

“The council has never done anything about protesting that they are having their money cut from government, it’s seen as a management exercise rather than politics.”

A public consultation into the plans will be rolled out in the next few days.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, said: “We had to make some difficult decisions in the past and we still have to make difficult choices and decisions and communicate those messages.

“We are on the side of residents.

“It’s about protecting services and making sure we have the best chance especially in terms of jobs and furthering skills, education and outcomes for all residents.”

The budget will be decided by full council on February 27.

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