Feb 14 2013 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
NEARLY 700 people have signed the Campaign For A Fair Grant petition calling on the government to give the borough a larger slice of public money.
Harrow receives one of the lowest amounts per head of the population in London in its formula grant settlement from the Department of Communities and Local Government.
In a joint campaign, Harrow Council and the Harrow Observer want to get as many people as possible to lobby for a sum that better reflects local needs and the latest reader to add his name to the online list of signatures is council leader Thaya Idaikkadar (Labour).
He said: “I’m delighted with the response we’ve had so far and the petition is growing on a daily basis. But we want more residents to sign up to it. We want to go to Downing Street with a petition that shows the community is behind us.
“We want to show the government that the people of Harrow understand we set the budget with our hands tied – that we could do so much more to save services from cuts, cuts, cuts, if we were given a similar amount as our neighbouring north west London boroughs.
“Our residents deserve better and I urge everyone in the borough, including our local MPs, to sign up to this petition today, and encourage their friends, relatives, and neighbours to do so as well.”
Sheila Michel, 77, a mother-of-two from Pinner, was one of the first to sign and send off a coupon backing the campaign and told the Observer: “I think we should have the same grant as Brent because there aren’t many rich people in Harrow, most of us are pensioners and have lived here for many years. It is probably a myth that many rich people live here now.
“It makes me so angry. I get a pension, but I have worked all my life and have worked so hard to pay our mortgage. There are many people like me and we struggle.
“It seems unfair that Brent gets so much more.”
A complex formula is used to calculate each council’s settlement and the Labour administration said the figures used are skewed by the borough’s richer areas dragging up the averages and obscuring the pockets of deprivation.
n To sign the petition visit www.harrow.gov.uk/fairgrant or send the coupon on this page to: Campaign for Fair Grant, Harrow Observer, Gazette House, 28 Bakers Road, Uxbridge, UB8 1RG.