Haringey finance chief quits over ‘watered down’ pledges

STICKY times in neighbouring Haringey where it can be revealed one of the most senior Labour councillors at the Town Hall has quit Joe Ejiofor’s cabinet. Pat Berryman, pictured campaigning with Camden’s deputy council leader Pat Callaghan, has told the leader that manifesto pledges were being watered down and decisions have been taken over his head. “The wheels are coming of the experiment here in Haringey,” said one insider. “It isn’t working and we need to change course – credit to Pat for standing up”

Cllr Berryman’s resignation letter is understood to read:

This letter is to confirm to you that I have decided to step down from my role as the Lead Member for Finance in your Cabinet.

I am proud of what I have achieved in this role since last May’s elections including delivering one of our key manifesto commitments to extend council tax support to 100% for our least well-off residents, bringing in a balanced budget that protected services and playing a leading role in other key policy drives like our Summer Programme for young people.

However, in recent months some key decisions have both been made and come before us as a Cabinet that have lacked proper process, consultation and threaten some of our key manifesto pledges. While at the same time some of those pledges are being watered down or ignored.

As well as this, I have been put me in difficult situations when last minute finance decisions have been taken over my head without my, or seemingly anyone else’s, input that involves our budget, our capital plans and even how councillors are paid. I can no longer support decisions that I consider to be financially risky and imprudent.

When I joined your Cabinet last year, I had expected by this time that we would have in place plans to make our group more democratic. Unfortunately, despite many noises about ‘the party’ and ‘democracy’ none of these changes have happened.

The responsibility for a functioning Cabinet and group resides with the Leader. Your choices since New Year’s Eve, when you arbitrarily sacked two colleagues, do not reflect the promises made when you were elected and have not made things better. In fact, they’ve made things worse and ultimately threaten the stability and finances of this council.

For these reasons I am choosing to stand down and will instead continue to serve the residents who elected us from the backbenches.

My decision does not reflect my personal regard for you.

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