Merton opposition call for finance minister Councillor Mark Allison to step down
Opposition councillors have heaped pressure on the council's head of finance with a vote of no confidence ahead of the 2013/14 budget.
Merton’s Conservative group issued an official statement last night calling for Councillor Mark Allison to step down because “he does not have the ability to carry out his duties and deliver value for money for Merton’s residents.”
The motion, to be debated at a full council meeting next week, claims Coun Allison has been unable to provide information to other councillors in advance of next year’s budget being signed off in March.
Coun Suzanne Grocott, of the Merton Conservatives, said: “Coun Allison has time and time again shown he is not up to the job.
“The budget papers he has produced were delivered late; are incomplete; and demonstrate a lack of the transparency and openness that the public should expect from the man who spends their money.
“Perhaps worst of all, he has made drastic cuts to vital services whilst at the same time under spending against the budget by more than those same services cost to provide.
“This is appalling incompetence and shows he lacks any cohesive strategy for managing the council’s finances.”
They are calling for a ‘no confidence’ vote to be held at next week’s meeting on February 6.
To win the Conservatives would need support from the three Merton Park Independents and two Liberal Democrats, to gain a majority.
Countering the claims Coun Allison accused the Conservative group of hypocrisy over their claims.
He said: "The Tories are two-faced, criticising Labour when Labour has delivered three years of council tax freezes and the Tories put council tax up.
"Perhaps they’re embarrassed because while we are protecting services and keeping council tax low, while their government has slashed funding for council services and they have voted against our council tax freezes.
"They’re too divided between the new Tea Party Tories and their few remaining moderates to tell us what they would do instead.
"I’m sorry the nasty party is back, but I wish that instead of playing games these two-faced Tories would join with Labour and the other parties in finding a constructive way to deliver low taxes and good services in these difficult times."