Havering residents will not get back the money directly invested in London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, says council leader

By Rudi Abdallah in Politics

RESIDENTS in Havering will not see a return of the money invested in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Havering Council and City Hall are in dispute over the £8 precept settled on after the last of the £625 million, the amount Londoners contributed to the 2012 games, was kept by Sadiq Khan as part of his overall budget.

Councillor Roger Ramsey, leader of Havering Council, slammed what he perceived to be the lack of return for Havering residents’ contribution to the games.

He said: “We’re disappointed with that because here in Havering we’ve always felt aggrieved about the Olympic levy because over the 10 years our residents have contributed £16 million and unlike other areas who’ve contributed nothing [...] they’ve got permanent facilities despite not paying for it. “We’ve felt aggrieved that the London boroughs who are having to pay this for a national Olympic scheme. Having come to the end of that and not getting anything back, we are a bit aggrieved.”

Mr Ramsey aired his views at a council budget briefing on Tuesday, at which he outlined the council’s plans to raise council tax by 3.5 per cent.

Earlier this year, Mr Ramsey said in a letter addressed to David Gallie, the assistant director of group finance at the General London Assembly, that the ’expectation’ that the remaining £8 would not be returned was ’unreasonable’ in the context of cuts to local government funding.

Mr Khan hit back, calling claims of unfairness ’desperate nonsense from the Tories’.

The mayor argued he had to balance running an effective police service and keeping council tax affordable.

He said: “I have always been crystal clear to Londoners that I will keep the council tax precept as low as possible without risking Londoners’ safety. Promise made - promise delivered, with the non-policing element frozen and Londoners paying just 8p a week more towards policing.

“I want to keep taxes as low as possible – but I am simply not willing to sacrifice Londoners safety and security,” he added.

Mr Ramsey outlined his dismay in the budget briefing further, alleging the mayor kept the precept to improve his own budgeting position at the expense of the council.

“We’d have preferred the mayor to have given it back rather than put it back in his general budget and levy an increase he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do because he would’ve been limited to two per cent but by keeping that money he’s keeping more than that.”

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