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Backroom deal struck to secure Harrow Borough Council budget
Harrow's Under One Sky festival will go ahead this year as part of a deal agreed in late-night negotiations for Harrow Borough Council’s budget.
The deal was thrashed out by the Conservative group and Independent Labour in negotiations over a series of amendments late last night.
There was no agreement among councillors after the first vote on the Conservative budget, or on alternative budgets from Labour and Independent Labour.
Council leader Councillor Susan Hall then called for a five-minute adjournment to negotiate with leader of the Independent Group Thaya Idaikkadar, but still no deal was reached between the two groups.
Cllr Hall said: “We have been able to reach a compromise and I am mortified.
“It is terrible we have not been able to come to some sort of agreement. This will cost the taxpayer £100,000 a week if we do not agree a budget.
“I am mortified that 62 of us cannot reach some sort of agreement for the people of Harrow.”
In response to the lack of agreement, Cllr Richard Romain said: “In all my years on the council the only thing I would say is you have to set a budget. You have to set a budget.
“The financial implication of not seeing one is too great. We need to show the people we are willing to recess and work towards some sort of agreement.
“We need to take time for deal to be reached. It is the responsibility of all 62 of us to work together. It is our duty, no it is our obligation to do so for the residents.”
Labour group leader Cllr David Perry said: “When you look at the makeup of the council here this is democracy in action.
“We have to act for the people of Harrow we need to come to an agreement.”
The council agreed a recess to allow the leaders of the three parties to negotiat.
After an hour the leaders came back with a deal constituting the Tory budget, with amendments from the Independent Labour group costing £750,000.
Included in the plans are £10,000 to run the Under One Sky festival as a standalone event, £50,000 on improving sports facilities and £50,000 for the enforcement of on-the-spot fines for spitting, graffiti and littering.
After the deal Cllr Hall said: “I am genuinely relieved. I am grateful to both leaders of the Labour group and the Independent Labour group for being willing to talk and reach an agreement.
“We have come to a reasonable compromise and we will do all we can to make sure we to achieve them.”
After the budget was agreed, Cllr Perry said: “I think what is important is that we have come to some sort of agreement for the budget.
“We have been voted in by the residents of Harrow and it is our job and duty to what is best for the whole borough.
“The politics and the details of the deal will be discussed tomorrow but tonight what is important is we have avoided a potential disaster.”
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