As we know Labour are breaking their election promise to cut Council Tax in Hammersmith and Fulham claiming it is impossible to find the money to do so. Yet they are spending £778,000 from the General Fund – financed by the Council Taxpayer – on pursuing their ill-judged plans for the abolition of council housing in the borough which are they pressing on without promising leaseholders a ballot. (There will also be another £125,000 of spending from the Housing Revenue Account on this pet project in 2016/17 while Labour councillors delay important repairs.)
So where is the £778,000 (which equates to more than 1.5 per cent of Council Tax revenue) going?
After much delay I have finally obtained a breakdown. Incidentally the delay is curious as given the figure was in this report approved at the December 7th Cabinet Meeting the calculations must have been done before then.
Anyway this spending includes:
- £240,000 on lawyers. This includes £150,000 allocated for the “possibility of a Judicial Review”.
- £203,000 on propaganda – including printing leaflets, posters and banners. There will staff promoting the plans on social media and a dedicated website.
- £106,000 on a “core programme team” to “provide programme management, management of external advice, comms and consultation strategy, risks and issues management, reporting and liaison with internal teams throughout the feasibility study, developing of the business case, facilitating the development of the Offer and managing the council’s requirements.” That’s Labour priority – while delaying the schedule to stop lifts breaking down or roofs leaking.
- £25,000 “for catering, venue hire, transport hire, IT, telephones, stationery etc.
- £30,000 “training for the Shadow Board” – a bit presumptuous given this spending would be before any ballot takes place. My own hunch is the stock transfer will not take place. So, in the words of The Beatles, we have them “making all their nowhere plans for nobody”….at our expense.
This project is misconceived. It should be abandoned now before further money is wasted.