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Labour's Mayor of Hackney: Jules Pipe
Jules Pipe has been the directly elected Mayor of Hackney since 2002, winning election in October 2002, and again in May 2006 and May 2010.
He is the political leader of the Council, overseeing the budget and all Council services. The Mayor provides transparent and accountable leadership to the Council, as well as acting as a champion and advocate of the borough.
Contact Jules on firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone him on: 020 8356 3220
or write to him at Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, London, E8 1EA
Below is a message from Jules Pipe following the setting of the Council's Budget in March 2011:
Hackney Council has set its budget for this year. After eight years of planned and sustainable growth which has seen the borough improve beyond recognition, we were faced with having to work with the biggest single cut to the Council's grant in living memory. It's a harsh position for a council that has gone from being regarded as a local authority mess to one whose efficiency meant it was able to bring new and expanded services to the borough, along with massive investment such as the school building programmes.
So how can I both vociferously oppose these cuts and implement a plan that sees £44 million less spent in the borough this year? The answer is that simple refusal to set a proper, workable budget brings with it immediate and far worse consequences for this borough. As elected Mayor of Hackney, I have no option but to put local people above rhetoric and propose a budget that protects front line services.
A few have argued that we should 'defy the cuts' and refuse to set a budget, but that would only lead to devastation to services and misery across the borough. Refusing to agree a legal budget does not result in councillors being surcharged or imprisoned, nor do services just keep running as they have in the previous year. Instead, councillors are eventually sidelined while Government appointees are brought in to take the decisions. Meanwhile, a great deal of council expenditure is frozen, preventing many people from receiving the services they need. Extra money would still not come and there would be no locally elected representatives involved to prioritise the remaining expenditure. The priorities of Government appointees would likely be different from those of the borough, and come with no requirement on them to maximise service delivery to residents. The whole process would leave the Council with even less money to spend on services than it does now, not more.
There are times when running a Council requires making difficult decisions, taking the option that doesn't appear popular, but still reflects the values upon which you were elected to serve. This year's budget protects front line services by bringing forward a whole set of savings and efficiencies and reductions in senior management. Some we would have introduced anyway in future years in order to recycle the cash into more services - just as we have been doing over the past eight years. Instead we have had to accelerate those savings all into one year, as well as limiting future investment, in order to backfill the reduction in grant. It means that residents will experience a level of protection to front line services almost unseen in any other part of the country.
Further reductions to council grants are proposed over the next three years. But we will tackle the financial challenges to come by sticking to our principles. Decisions will be taken on the basis of what will best protect services, and that our most vulnerable people will always be our first concern.