H&F Council in crisis as Labour create £52m budget black hole

Hammersmith & Fulham’s Labour Council have just taken a deliberate political decision that will have major ramifications for our local area and council services.

Labour has decided to withdraw from the “Tri-Borough” shared services agreement with Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea councils. This agreement was established in 2011 to save taxpayers’ money by sharing resources of all three councils, reducing backroom bureaucracy and improving frontline services.

It currently saves council taxpayers’ an estimated £13 million a year. That’s £52 million over the four years of a council administration.

The shared services initiative has been so successful that Labour promised to extend it in their election manifesto back when they won control of the Council in 2014.

By Labour’s own figures, this shared service arrangement saved council taxpayers’ £46.5million between 2011-2016. That’s £46.5m more that could be spent on the services that matter to residents. Services such as street cleaning, bin collections, parks, housing and adult social care.

However, due to Labour’s decision, based purely on short sighted party politics and extreme ideological opposition to working with Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, essential council services are now facing cuts on a massive scale, as well as inevitable council tax hikes to try and plug the huge black hole in the Council’s finances.

The Conservatives believe this decision by the Labour Council is a terrible terrible mistake.

This announcement comes on the back of the news that the Council’s Chief Executive has unexpectedly resigned, meaning the Council has now had three different Chief Executives in the last 3 years. Or the botched attempt costing millions of pounds to sell off all council housing, which was halted by the Government in an unpredicted move following serious concerns over the proposals. It appears that the Council is descending into complete chaos.

The last Conservative administration may not have got everything right but it did manage Council finances properly, cutting council tax by 20 per cent while delivering real improvements to key services.

The next council elections are not until May 2018. The choice has never been clearer. Financial incompetence by Labour verses value for money and better services with the Conservatives.

7 thoughts on “H&F Council in crisis as Labour create £52m budget black hole

  1. Is there a single thing in their published manifesto at the last council elections that they have done ? Apart from keeping Sullivan School open I am not aware of one.

    • That’s an excellent question. I think they would say that rather than concentrating on running the borough well, or delivering on pledges such as the Flyunder, they have been looking at the ‘bigger picture’ and what they can do to take the fight to the awful Tory government on issues such as education and health where they have no responsiblity as a local council. Nevertheless the borough provides a great resource base for these kinds of activities and its taxpayers can be tapped for cash to support whatever propaganda exercise or community activist project is next on the agenda.

      • They also pick and choose the issues to campaign on even when they have no responsibility. Specifically they only select local issues of benefit to the Labour Party – so they confine their rabble rousing to the NHS but keep their heads down over Heathrow expansion where the Labour national policy is in favour of it.

  2. Your article on Conservative Home gives some valuable background information.
    There is also a quote from the Leader of Westminster Council
    ““However, both the Leader of Kensington & Chelsea and I feel we are unable to continue with tri-borough when we have a partner that we do not believe is committed to it as we are and appears to be making their own plans to leave, without any formal discussions. We can’t have that uncertainty for staff and these vital services which is why, with much regret, we have taken the very reluctant decision to terminate the joint arrangements for children’s services, adult social care and public health.”

    The way it reads implies that the two partner boroughs formally took the decision, which the propaganda department in H&F will no doubt find an opportunity to twist? Some clarification and certainly some updates would be a good idea.

    It is a shame that public services as well as council tax bills stand to suffer.

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