Hackney needs central help, says Abbott

30 Nov 00
Labour MP Diane Abbott has called for the government to intervene in crisis-ridden Hackney council to protect frontline services.

01 December 2000

Abbott, whose Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency covers much of the borough, told Public Finance that ministers should use their powers under the Local Government Act 1999 allowing them to take over failing authorities.

She said temporary intervention was the only way to ensure residents were not deprived of services as a result of the financial crisis, caused by a budget overspend of up to £15.5m this year.

The government's policies on the inner cities had helped bring about Hackney's parlous state, the MP added. 'There are underlying systemic failures to do with the government's approach to regeneration and the inner cities.'

'The government's formula of cuts, privatisation and asset sales is not one that Hackney can sustain. Reluctantly, I think the time has come for the government to send commissioners in to run the borough in the short term to stabilise services.'

Abbott's comments came as the council waited to hear whether staff, angered by the £22.5m cuts package approved this month, had voted to go on strike. The results of ballots organised by Unison, GMB and the TGWU are expected on December 11.


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