Jan 29 2013 By Ian Proctor
FIGHTING for a more equal share of public money is the aim of a new campaign being launched by the Harrow Observer and Harrow Council.
Readers will be able to sign a petition calling on the coalition government to provide Harrow with a larger and fairer share of the national pot to top up what it collects in council tax.
The statistics used to calculate what each local authority deserves means Harrow Council receives just £1,608 per person, while neighbouring Brent gets more than twice as much at £3,317 for each
If Harrow was treated like Brent, the council would be £420million per year better off – allowing councillors to curtail cutbacks, rely less on other uncertain sources of funding and make huge investment in frontline services like schools, street cleaning and libraries.
The council’s portfolio holder for finance, Councillor Sachin Shah (Labour), said: “It’s a non-party political campaign. I urge everyone who lives in Harrow or works in Harrow, or enjoys its benefits, to sign the petition.
“We want to go straight to the top, to Number 10. We want Prime Minister David Cameron to listen to us and arrange a meeting with the Chancellor, George Osbourne, or Eric Pickles, the secretary of state
for communities and local government.
“We are asking for a fairer grant. We want the government to look into the formula and make sure it fully reflects Harrow’s diversity and our areas of deprivation.
“The image of Harrow as a wealthy leafy suburb with Harrow School on the Hill is outdated. Things have changed and the current formula overlooks the poorer areas of Queensbury, Kenton and Wealdstone
because it’s averaged out by the extremely rich areas in the north.
“I’m happy the Harrow Observer is working with us on this campaign and showing real commitment to Harrow.”
Suzy Talbot, deputy editor of the Harrow Observer, said: “People in Harrow deserve a fair deal and the government needs to look at the make-up of the borough and take into account more factors than it
appears it does now.
“We urge readers to get behind this petition and help us try and make a difference to their every day lives.”
* Add your name to the petition at www.harrow.gov.uk/fairgrant