Residents are losing trust in Barnet Council, according to latest survey figures

By Dave Speck in Local People

The state of pavements and the reduction in the library service are among factors being linked to residents’ loss of trust in Barnet Council.

The latest residents’ perception survey found that the proportion of people who think the council is trustworthy has fallen from 71 per cent to 61 per cent in six months.

Barnet’s opposition Labour Group are linking the fall to factors such as way the council is handling pavement repairs, and to public anger over the “massive cuts” to the libraries service.

Labour Group leader Councillor Barry Rawlings said: "I’m not surprised that there has been such a dramatic fall in trust. When we speak to residents on the doorstep we regularly hear how let down people feel by the Tories running Barnet Council.”

Barnet Council says the fall in trust is in line with a national trend, and it has highlighted other findings in the survey, including that 85 per cent of people are satisfied with living in Barnet and that 78 per cent say they think the council is doing a good job.

The survey also found that almost two-thirds of residents agree that the council provides good value for the council tax, and the same amount say it does a good job keeping people informed about what it’s doing.

The survey, carried out by an independent market research company last November, interviewed 504 residents from a cross-section of the population from across the borough.

People’s top three concerns were found to be a lack of affordable housing, the condition of the borough’s roads and pavements and crime.

Councillor Richard Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council said: “The survey provides a crucial snapshot of how people feel about living in the borough and where we need to focus our efforts. We are tackling these head-on by building more affordable housing in the borough and by our continuing investment in our roads and pavements."

Compared to the previous survey in Spring 2016, all other core reputation trends, including satisfaction and value for money, remained constant, apart from trust.

In a separate survey, 500 young people aged between 11 and 18 were asked for their views, with 85 per cent saying they were happy living in Barnet and 85 per cent feeling Barnet is a place where people from different ethnic backgrounds get on well together. Crime is among the young people’s highest concern alongside a lack of jobs and a lack of recreational facilities.

Barnet Council says the library service cuts will save around £2 million a year from 2020 and points out that all the borough’s 14 libraries are being kept open. It is currently investing £8 million in a five-year scheme to revamp pavements.

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Mary · 102 days ago · Report

There is no 'investment' in the libraries. £14m is being spend on dodgy CCTV and tech from Capita whilst sacking the universally valued librarians. Barnet knows these moves will discourage use by at least 75% and particularly hit children and the disabled and it simply doesn't care. Library use amongst children was increasing an average of 20% but Barnet is determined to destroy it. Barnet's own documents show they are spending £14m to 'save' £2.2m whilst driving down usage by 75%: the costs are therefore going up over 2000% per user. Barnet is reckless with your services and feckless with your money. They cannot be trusted to balance a budget, to deliver any kind of service or to have even a vague interest in the social good. They are also now advocating removing £23m from schools at a cost of £500 per pupil.

Mrs Angry Broken Barnet blog · 102 days ago · Report

Library BUILDINGS are being retained, but the library service is being destroyed - half the staff sacked, the space in library buildings drastically cut in size, book stock cut, and soon you will see children banned from the new DIY, unstaffed branches, where your only companion will be a CCTV camera. As for revamping the pavements - that happened before the last elections in certain Tory wards - this time you will only get proper pavements in 'prestigious' areas, and - asphalt elsewhere. No money for libraries? They gave half a million quid to the RAF Museum, and are spending nearly a million on EXTRA PR posts (spindoctors) to 'manage the council's reputation' before the next elections. Do remember to thank your Tory councillors at the ballot box in 2018.

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