Wandsworth Liberal Democrats Statement;
The merger of Wandsworth and Richmond councils’ administrative functions is a political stunt with far reaching consequences. We need to understand the alternatives.
“This proposal looks more like a political stunt than something of real benefit to Wandsworth’s tax payers. Richmond is significantly smaller than Wandsworth and its needs are very different,” says the Chairman of the Wandsworth Liberal Democrats, Matthew Green.
“The demand on services in Battersea, Balham and Tooting are very different to those in Hampton, Whitton and Twickenham, and by losing focus on local priorities, those most in need will suffer. With continued pressure on council finances, closer cooperation with neighbouring councils makes a lot of sense. But this should be carried out where the synergies are greatest and not where senior politicians see a temporary advantage.“
“We also need to understand how a situation where the Boroughs were controlled by different parties would work. How much local variation would be allowed? The proposal invites more questions than answers.”
Councillor Stephen Knight AM, Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition on Richmond Council said: “Today’s shock announcement of a deal being stitched-up between two Tory politicians to merge Richmond and Wandsworth councils raises very fundamental issues of democracy and accountability.
“This merger will clearly limit the future independence of both councils to respond to the democratic will of their own electorates and should not proceed without the agreement of the residents of both boroughs in a referendum.
“All those who believe in genuine local democracy should be worried about this extreme and irreversible move being pushed through by politicians without the agreement of the electorate.
The Wandsworth Liberal Democrats share Councillor Knights concerns and demand that any such move be put to a referendum and not allow a backroom Tory stitch up to impact the quality of services for Wandsworth Residents.