Greenwich Council has been forced to resume jet-washing in the borough's Town Centres, 12 months after Labour councillors voted down an Opposition Conservative proposal to re-introduce the service.
The Council administration's Budget proposals for 2023/24 includes "the reintroduction of pavement washing programme in the three town centres, Wilton Road and Plumstead High Street" as well as a return to the 'taskforce' approach to tackling fly-tipping. Jet-washing in Town Centres was removed in 2020 over the objections of Conservative councillors' objections, who have raised concerns over the Council's costly reliance on the use of overtime to ensure our high streets are kept clean.
The pressure washer was originally bought specifically for Eltham High Street, with funding from Transport for London, but was instead put into use across the borough - before being withdrawn entirely.
In February 2022 Conservative councillors proposed the re-introduction of jet-washing as part of the Opposition Group's alternative Budget proposals, which were rejected by Labour councillors. The re-introduction of the jet-washing service joins a long list of Conservative Budget proposals that are routinely opposed by Labour at the Town Hall, but then introduced later anyway - including the borough's 100% Council Tax Support Scheme, exempting young care-leavers form Council Tax, parks investment funding and millions of pounds of back-office efficiency savings.
The new Labour's administration's Budget includes a 4.99% increase in Council Tax - the highest possible rise without having to hold a referendum - and follows a higher-than-expected funding settlement from central Government, for the fourth year running.
The Labour proposals will now be scrutinised by backbench councillors before going to a vote at the Town Hall on 23rd February. Conservative councillors will publish their own Budget proposals later this month.
Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Conservative Opposition, said: "The jet-washing service should never have been withdrawn, and I'm pleased that the Council will resume this service. This is a good outcome for residents, and a testament to my predecessor Nigel Fletcher's hard work on last year's Budget. It's also just the latest example of one of our Budget proposals being voted down by Labour councillors but incorporated into future Budgets anyway - they could save everyone a lot of time by adopting our good ideas at the time, rather than putting on this political dance."
"I look forward to scrutinising the new administration's wider Budget at next week's scrutiny meeting, and publishing our new Budget proposals for this year - which will include a new menu of good ideas for Labour to choose from."