‘Expect a radical reform on local enforcement’ – Herrera

Parliamentary secretary for local councils says claims of budgetary cuts to local councils ‘incorrect’.

Parliamentary secretary José Herrera
Parliamentary secretary José Herrera

The white paper soon to be published by the government on local enforcement would provide proposals for a "radical reform", according to junior minister José Herrera.

Addressing parliament, Herrera said the white paper on the local wardens system would be published in two weeks' time and would include "very interesting proposals".

Rebutting Opposition's claims that the local councils' budget had been cut by €1.6 million, Herrera argued that the assessment had been incorrect.

Going into the various allocations for local councils, he said that what appeared to be cuts had in fact been the result of having already starting addressing the different fees which the councils had to pay - such as in waste management.

Listing a series of projects related to local councils which the parliamentary secretariat embarked on, Herrera said EU funds have been allocated for the administration of health centres by the local councils. The project was being carried out in collaboration with the Ministry for Health.

In collaboration with the Ministry for Social Solidarity, more vulnerable individuals would be employed with local councils.

Reacting to questions by the Opposition as to why all directors involved in the V18 - appointed by the previous administration - would be removed, Herrera said this was a decision taken unanimously by the V18 Foundation.

Herrera argued that the majority of the funds allocated to V18 used to be taken up by personal emoluments.

"There were 12 retainers, with salaries varying from €30,000 to as high as €70,000. They are indeed very good at what they do, but they are not artistic directors. So the foundation agreed that these individuals would be employed according to the different projects," he said.

Herrera insisted that the opening of a fine arts museum was his "priority".

"I personally pledge that this museum will be realised and will be better than that proposed by the previous administration. Decisions are being taken in the culture's best interest."

Herrera said Budget 2014 allocated €200,000 for the relocation of the museum and the decision not to move to Auberge d'Italie in Merchants Street was based on logistical problems. He also said that the government was planning on issuing a PPP for the setting up of a contemporary arts museum.

In his concluding remarks, Herrera said a third of the proposals listed in Labour's electoral programme related to his secretariat were being implemented.

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It not only the Local Wardens that's need a radical change but ALL Government departments especially those falling under the Finance Ministry. Inland Revenue / Capital Transfer Duty and VAT departments fires assessments named "go as you please" and the penalties they include makes one wonder whether these people are insane or otherwise.