THE leader-elect of Harrow Council has warned residents face a tough two years in the face of a struggling economy and swingeing cuts from central Government.

Councillor Bill Stephenson, leader of the new Labour administration on the council, said he is not expecting many favours from the new Lid Dem-Tory coalition and is bracing himself for tough financial times ahead.

He said: “We have got to wait for the expected cuts on expenditure from central government, we are being pessimistic but hopefully it will better than we are expecting.

“It is not just Harrow, we are not alone. Every council in the country is in the same position, and we have got to work with our partners to see what we can do.

“I see the difficult period being the first two years.”

Cllr Stephenson, who is due tonight to be confirmed as the next leader of the council, was speaking after Chancellor George Osbourne announced more than £1.1bn cuts in spending on local government.

The money over the next three years for local government has not been set, and the Labour administration is waiting until then to make any firm plans for the future.

However, Cllr Stephenson said his party is aspiring to “transform” Harrow, and fix what residents think are going wrong.

He said: “We hope to have empowered residents, we hope to transform services, we want people to find Harrow a much better place to live.

“We particularly want to transform the town centre and other parts of the borough that have been neglected.

“I want to see Harrow looking green and clean again.”

Cllr Stephenson added he hopes to involve residents in the decisions the council makes, and is looking at how the power to run services and manage parks can be transferred to the public.