Message from leader of the opposition Bexley Council, Daniel Francis

Last week saw the sad news that former Thamesmead East councillor Harry
Persaud had passed away.

Harry had an interest in improving the health of the borough’s residents and worked to support a number of charities over many years.

Daniel Francis – leader of opposition Bexley Council

Colleagues from across the political spectrum have paid tribute to Harry’s public service.

At times like this we are reminded that, despite our political differences, councillors work together to improve the lives of our residents.

Political argument should never become
personal, and there is no room for personal abuse of political opponents.

Councillors will soon begin the process of scrutinising the budget for 2019/20.

Councillors will soon begin the process of scrutinising the budget for 2019/20.

Labour councillors fear the budget proposals will see a fundamental change in the way that local Government is delivered.

Both in their corporate plan and their language, Conservative councillors trumpet their #DoitforBexley message.

We fear this means the friends and families of some of our most vulnerable
residents will be asked to provide services which the council currently delivers.

An example is transport provision for children and young people with
disabilities and SEN.

The council will be asking for a financial contribution for those children over the age of 16 from next year, and are currently reassessing and causing major disturbance to those children under 16.

As a result, families currently remain caught in appeal processes with no transport provision or have found existing routes merged to save monies.

In some cases this is leaving children on buses for four hours a day.

In others, a breakdown in communication has left them without any transport being provided for the first week of term and no indication of when it will be provided.

This appears to have occurred in cases where the council asked families to take a budget rather than have the transport directly provided.

This option will work for some families, but for others who need to transport more than one child it doesn’t.

The consequence appears to be that no alternative provision has been made for these families who are waiting to hear how children will be transported to school and parents having to pick up the pieces in the meantime.

As a Labour group, we are extremely concerned that #DoitforBexley means Do it for Bexley so the council no longer pays for services for the most vulnerable.

If this proves to be the case, then we will be working with residents to fight for the services which our most vulnerable residents rely on.

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