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.