During the eight years when the Conservatives were running Hammersmith and Fulham Council the Council Tax was cut by 20 per cent. The Labour Group Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan would stand up each year in the Town Hall and say that it wasn’t enough and that as Council leader he would cut the Council Tax at a faster rate.
“We want to put more money back into people’s pockets,” he promised. “We will cut Council Tax.”
Labour said that cutting Council Tax was an “early pledge”.
The good news is that our Council Tax bills will fall this year that is purely due to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson cutting his precept. Labour-run Hammersmith and Fulham Council will not cut their share of the bill.
The Council has issued a press release saying we should be grateful for the freeze as the Government had “suggested” the Council should increase Council Tax. That is untrue. The threshold before a referendum would have been required was a four per cent rise. But allowing something to happen is different to wishing it to happen. If Council Tax had been cut that is something Ministers would have welcomed.
The press release is yet another example of the Council using resources to promote a message that is not only partisan but dishonest – and thus breaks the Local Government Publicity Code. It is also an ineffective form of propaganda as nobody will believe that the Conservative Government would have been displeased by a reduction in Council Tax in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Labour’s others pledges are also in tatters. The “early pledge” on Charing Cross Hospital was doubly dishonest as the hospital was never going to close – nor was its A&E. But also the Council does not have the power to “block” the changes however they choose to characterise them. They are the responsibility of the NHS.
The pledge about stopping overseas investors from buying property in the borough couldn’t be implemented as it is against EU law.
Meanwhile Labour’s supposed support for police has little credibility after a leading Labour councillor attacked the police for stopping people stealing petrol. Not to mention having a Party leader who is an apologist for terrorism.
Finally their pledge to “put residents first not property speculators” has been ditched to support more unwanted tower blocks.
Anyone who voted Labour because they believed any of the “early pledges” put forward is entitled to feel betrayed.