April 12, 2008

Top BNP Assembly candidate presents ‘budget full of holes’

One of the main powers of the London Assembly is that it can amend the Mayor’s annual budget. Yet the man who heads the BNP’s list of candidates for the London Assembly – the man who will be elected if the BNP gets 5% of the vote – is totally ignorant on financial matters.

Richard Barnbrook leads the BNP’s group of 12 councillors in the east London borough of Barking and Dagenham. Since their election in 2006, they have formed the official opposition to the ruling Labour group. This year they proposed their first minority party budget – last year they were too ignorant to propose one and boycotted the budget meeting.

This time every one of them turned out on 27 February in support of Barnbrook’s presentation of his budget, which proposed millions of pounds of cuts to council services, targeted mainly at old people, children and the staff of the borough’s human resources department.

Barnbrook managed to struggle though his speech, prompted by Councillor Robert Bailey whenever he stumbled over his lines, though even Bailey seemed not to notice that the figures in Barnbrook’s speech bore little resemblance to those in his document. Questions proved somewhat harder as Barnbrook does not excel at thinking on his feet.

First up was Val Rush, the Executive Member for community safety and parks, who challenged Barnbrook’s claim that he could cut the parks’ police budget by £150,000 by running it in-house. “It already is run in-house”, she informed him and asked him what the precise cuts were that would save £150,000. He was unable to say, the first of many occasions on which he could not explain how he had arrived at his figures.

Barnbrook was also unaware that rubbish collection was already run in-house in the borough and that the law would not allow the council to use money saved by the BNP’s cuts to build council houses, as he had proposed.

As for the 10,000 new council houses that a BNP leaflet was demanding, Barnbrook said they would be built on brownfield sites, but was unable to name a single such site in the borough.

Pressed on how the BNP would achieve savings of £5.3 million in children’s services and still be able to fulfil the council’s legal obligations, Barnbrook muttered something about ending the use of agency staff, though seemed to have no idea how many there were, how much they cost and how they could be replaced by direct employees when there is a shortage of trained social workers.

Totally flawed

It was a budget full of holes, concluded Councillor Philip Waker, chair of the scrutiny committee. “This is a phoney budget. It is totally flawed.”

“It can work, it does work”, replied Barnbrook desperately. Naturally the BNP budget was rejected on a vote.

In the course of the debate Barnbrook had offered to reply to further questions by email. Indeed he invited Labour councillors to inundate him with questions, promising he would respond.

If anyone thought they would get more sense out of him in writing than in the debate, they were sadly mistaken. If anyone was looking for a laugh, they certainly hit the target.

One of Barnbrook’s biggest cuts was £3 million out of the £6.5 million budget for human resources, to come from reducing staff. Intrigued how this could be achieved, Councillor Mick McCarthy asked Barnbrook to outline his proposed new structure for the department, compared to the present structure.

“The detail of the new structure will come from the relevant Chief Officers once the Labour Administration has been removed,” waffled Barnbrook, at the same time making it clear that he had no idea what the department’s present structure was.

He continued: “All duties relating to promoting equal oppurtunities [sic] and celebrating diversity will be removed, but of course, you could counter my case by giving me the precise figure for this duty which is top of the Council’s priorities”.

Asked how he had budgeted for the cost of redundancies, Barnbrook showed his callous lack of concern for council employees and his ignorance of employment law by declaring, “the BNP is not going to burden taxpayers with redundancy payments”.

As is sensible in discussions about budgets, where one has to consider a variety of possible eventualities, Councillor McCarthy asked Barnbrook how the BNP would deliver its budget if he was unable to achieve his projected £3 million saving in human resources. Barnbrook’s response showed him up for the twerp he is: “Not realizing objectives does not enter the equation; the Director of Finance permitted this to be presented, therefore, given his Accountancy qualifications, we trust that these are figures and proposals that can be worked with.

“Of course, if you think the Finance Director does not know what he is doing, and you have appropriate qualifications such as CIPFA, IIA, etc to give some confidence that you no doubt know what you are talking about, I am sure you will let us all know.”

TB and bushmeat

Barnbrook then turned to the questions on environmental health and trading standards, where the BNP wanted to spend an additional £400,000 on increased staffing to deal with TB and bushmeat.

Again he was unable to give any sort of breakdown of how the money would be spent, saying ridiculously, “I suggest you ask the Chief Executive to help you if you want to compile figures so that you can copy the BNP’s good ideas and claim them as yours”. Nor could he explain what research the BNP had carried out to indicate that TB and bushmeat were a priority and had not been addressed already, except to hint at “confidential communication from within the Dept of Health and Customs and Excise”.

The fact that Barnbrook himself was diagnosed with TB last year obviously cannot have anything to do with it.

Barnbrook was equally unilluminating on how he would achieve his projected cuts in services for pensioners, refusing to provide any explanation or breakdown of any of his figures. Asked for more details of the research the BNP had carried out to demonstrate the need for its proposals, he said, “Obviously you cannot expect the BNP to prove the point by handing over it’s [sic] own confidential records to an extremist organisation like the labour party”.

On the detailed costs of providing meals in-house, his meaningless reply was: “The answer is the BNP is big enough to go beyond unit costs, look at reduced total costs and realise the potential for a superior service within those figures. If you want a specific figure just look at my total, it includes everything.”

Councillor Jeanne Alexander took the opportunity to explore further Barnbrook’s £5.3 million cut in children’s services and asked him again to state whether the council would be able to deliver the services required by statute if his proposals were accepted. Again Barnbrook had no idea: “The Director of Finance was satisfied that the BNP proposals could be presented as an opposition budget. As part of the Director of Finance’s procedure there was a request for feedback from the relevant departments and this would have been considered.”

And that was it. What the borough’s Chief Financial Officer had actually said, and Barnbrook well knew it, was: The Council has a statutory duty to children and young people in line with national legislation both in terms of their education and social care needs. Given the priorities agreed between OFSTED, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Council set out in the Children and Young People’s Plan, Children’s Services are required to deliver against those priorities. The proposals put forward would compromise the safeguarding of vulnerable children and young people as well as their life chances and education and of course would prevent the Council from becoming excellent.”

Barnbrook is clearly to dumb to notice when a local government employee, who is required to bend over backwards to be helpful to elected opposition councillors, is telling him that his budget stinks.

All Councillor Alexander’s further requests for details of alternative staffing structures, the BNP’s service priorities and the impact of the BNP’s cuts on different groups of young people were met with more waffle, no specifics and the strange suggestion that: “we would pursue investigation into the homeward bound ideas promoted by the late Bernie Grant, Labour MP for Tottenham, and indeed some applications of the schemes being considered by the London Mayor’s Race Advisor [Lee Jasper] before his recent resignation.”

Odd how suddenly Jasper is a man of good ideas instead of what the BNP described in February as the “long-term Marxist Lee Jasper” who heads “a coterie of unelected old chums of deep red political opinions and equally well-paid ‘equality’ advisors of various shades of duskiness” on behalf of “Red Ken” Livingstone.

Barnbrook continued: “The BNP always considers the effects policy has on population; this includes an unintegratable and unassailable child population who have traveled [sic] as many as 4,000 miles and crossed so many countries to find the first safe country they come to.”

So that’s where Barnbrook’s £5.3 million cuts will come from – “repatriating” those children whom he considers not “indigenous” to Barking and Dagenham.

But at least Barnbrook is proud of his work. “The 2008 opposition budget was, in a very real way, an example benefiting from the input of highly qualified and experienced public sector finance professional [sic],” he told Councillor Alexander.

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11 comments:

Lancaster Unity supporter said...

"As for the 10,000 new council houses that a BNP leaflet was demanding, Barnbrook said they would be built on brownfield sites, but was unable to name a single such site in the borough."

That's because it's all shallow shite with no substance. Policies written out on a fag packet. This idiot can't even be bothered to ask the council officers for a list of brownfield sites, a job that might have taken them a few seconds to complete.

The BNP has NOTHING to offer the people at all.

Mr Invincible said...

I'm staring to think it might be worth having that idiot Dickie Barnarse on the Assembly after all. it would give us hours of entertainment and provide a ton of ammunition for having a go at the BNP.

Anonymous said...

"Pressed on how the BNP would achieve savings of £5.3 million in children’s services and still be able to fulfil the council’s legal obligations, Barnbrook muttered something about ending the use of agency staff, though seemed to have no idea how many there were, how much they cost and how they could be replaced by direct employees when there is a shortage of trained social workers."

Says it all really doesn't it. The BNP - stupid and incompetent.

Anonymous said...

The porn queen and the BNP deserve each other.

Anonymous said...

In response to mr invinceble....there was nothing funny about this at all..in fact it was bloody pathetic...Dicky as usual was as drunk as a skunk, he couldnt read his papers, Bailey had to sit next to him and prompt him the whole way through.

For a change all of the muppets turned up, and when you look at their attendance record you very quickly find out that a large number of them actually got paid in excess of £3000 for that one meeting...as they have only attended 3 meetings this year, not bad going i suppose, but what a let down for the people they vowed to represent...

Still the support for the majority group was fantastic, the trade unions were in the gallery, and yes the tears of laughter were rolling down their cheeks.

But lets please be serious, they picked up the seats in B & D using peoples fears, and they are doing the same in London and the rest of the Country can you imagine the uproar and devestation they will cause in communities if they have any success on 1st of May.

Believe me that would be no joke.

tulip

Anonymous said...

Strewth!

iliacus said...

The tragedy is that so many members of the general public will ignore the practicality (or impracticality !) or even idiocy of the BNP's proposals, but simply want to do one of two things:

a) articulate a generalised view that "at last someone is speaking up for us"

or

b) send the "old" parties a message that they feel neglected, and disgusted by what's been going on.

I fear that as in past Euro elections people may vote BNP as a gesture (as they did for Greens in whenever it was, and UKIP last time).

Dicky's Arse Dildo Lube Tub said...

Wander how Bumbrook intends to fund his budget to pay for all his non-existant council houses?

Make more filthy gay orgy porno flicks?

Cottaging Weekly said...

If Dicky has TB, and his party believe it is only carried by black and Asian people, who exactly has the prima donner been cottaging with?

Wa Nu said...

The only way people are going to realise what a bunch of useless wankers the BNP are is when voters get so sick of Labour and the others that the BNP end up running a council. They can't even run their own party properly so a full council would soon end in chaos, particularly if all the staff worked precisely to rule. The result would destroy the BNP and knock the far-right to bits. I hope it never comes to that but I think it will show the British public once and for all that the BNP is nothing but a bad joke.

Anonymous said...

My faith and confidence in humanity is returning......

Yesterday i was out in B & D handing out HnH leaflets to shoppers, i approached 2 big burly middle aged men and offered them each a leaflet, 1 took one and started to read it the other turned his back on me and said NO.

A couple of minutes later the same man came up to me and apologised, "Sorry love, he said, i thought you were giving out those BNP leaflets and i dont want any of their rubbish", give me a handful of yours love and i will give them to me mates".

Faith restored.

tulip