H&F Council paid its chief exec £309,712 last year

The Sunday Times reports:

“The highest paid council executive in London last year was Nigel Pallace, former chief executive of the Labour- controlled Hammersmith and Fulham, who was paid a total package of £309,712, which included a salary of £190,000.”

That’s more than twice the Prime Minister’s salary – she gets by on £150,402.

The Taxpayers Alliance Town Hall Rich List report gives more details. It says Hammersmith and Fulham Council provided pay packages of over £100,000 to the following officials last year:

Nigel Pallace, Chief Executive – £309,712

Elizabeth Bruce, Shared Services Executive Director of Adult Social Care for LBHF, RBKC and WCC – £183,321

Juliemma McLoughlin, Lead Director of Planning and Development – £176,135

Hitesh Jolapara, Strategic Finance Director (Section 151 Officer) – £159,433

Kim Dero Director of Delivery and Value  £154,765

Debbie Morris Director of Human Resources £143,071

Nick Austin Director of Environmental Health  £130,573

Michael Hainge Commercial Director  £129,897

The report adds that Nigel’s basic pay was £190,000 – he also got £24,700 as a performance related bonus and another £95,012 as “compensation for loss of office.” He’s now the chief executive of Slough Borough Council. Good for him. But there is a wider story of how dysfunctional Hammersmith and Fulham Council has become with its senior management since Labour took over in 2014. At first they had Nicholas Holgate as chief executive. Then they had Nigel Pallace – an Extraordinary Council Meeting was specially specially held to appoint.

Then last November we had another Extraordinary Council Meeting to appoint Kim Dero. It only took 12 minutes.

Three chief executives in four years is not exactly ideal in terms of good management – quite apart from the huge sums Council Taxpayers money being spent. It is incompetence as well as extravagance.

But that is not the only post where people keep coming and going. For instance the Housing Department – which I have a particular interest in as the Conservative housing spokesman – we saw the appointment of Nilavra Mukerji as the Director of Housing Services. He resigned as a Labour councillor at Westminster to take up the post. His basic pay at Hammersmith and Fulham Council was £104,669 a year. A lot of his time was spent on the Council’s doomed stock transfer project. That unwanted scheme cost £1.395 million – not including Nilavra’s salary – before it was abandoned. Then last year he left.

By the way, I think the Taxpayers Alliance understates the scale of six figure pay packages at Hammersmith Town Hall. According the latest transparency data – which the Council is obliged to publish on its website the list has 26 paid over £100,000 a year – when bonuses and pension contributions are included.

When they were in opposition Labour attacked “fat cat” pay at the Council – at the time the total number earning over £100,000 was nine.

 

A car-free day for London? Breathe it in.

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:  

A group of plucky individuals from across London have got together to promote the concept of a car-free day for London on Saturday 22 September.  Don’t worry – they don’t aim or wish to grind London to a halt.  The idea is for some carefully chosen major roads to close – and for local people to join in on their own streets across London where possible and popular.  The idea could then develop and grow organically, based on what works.

They have written to Cllr Wesley Harcourt to see if Hammersmith & Fulham Council will support the concept.

Their top ten target roads are as follows:

1. Tate Modern to Barbican (City of London Culture Mile)

2. London Bridge (Tooley St/ Saint Thomas St/ Bermondsey St)

3. Oxford Street

4. Regent Street/ Portland Place

5. Fleet Street

6. Exhibition Road (South Kensington/ V&A)

7. Kensington High Street

8. Waterloo/Westminster Bridge (Southbank Centre)

9. Vauxhall Bridge

10. Greenwich town centre.

King Street in Hammersmith is in their “other” targets.

The group has also written to Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, asking for his support.  They hope to develop a web page soon.  Meanwhile you can follow and support them on twitter here.

Here are some amazing images of Paris’s annual car free day.

I tried to find some good images of London car-free but resorted to a lovely old painting.  We should aim for similar tranquility.

Westminster Bridge under Construction 1744 Richard Wilson 1713-1782

 

 

 

 

 

Under Labour in H&F the number of council homes failing to meet the “decent” standard has doubled

First the good news. In recent years the number of council homes that fail to meet the “decent homes standard” nationally has been falling. As on the 1st April 2014 there were 145,737 “non-decent dwellings” owned by local authorities in England. See Section F of this dataset.  As of April 1st last year, the latest figures available, it was down to 83,440 “dwellings”. The dataset for that year is here.

In London the number has fallen from 72,885 in 2014 to 47,232 last year.

But in Hammersmith and Fulham it is a different story. On April 1st 2014 there were 536 “non-decent” council homes in the borough. The next month the borough was under new management. Labour won the council elections after promising council tenants a better deal. What has been the reality? By April 1st last year the number of “non-decent” council homes was 1,095. That is more than double. These are the official figures based on the Council’s own returns.

Now the “decent homes standard” isn’t a perfect measure. It includes the perverse requirement to replace sash windows with PVC.  But those cold statistics do give a pretty clear measure of the extent of Labour’s mismanagement and neglect. Anybody who goes canvassing on a council estate can see it for themselves – frankly the figures sound like a gross underestimate. 605 council homes in Hammersmith and Fulham are categorised as “not in a reasonable state of repair” (up from 147 in 2014). 92 are “without reasonable modern amenities and services” (up from nil in 2014). There are also 499 “without a reasonable degree of thermal warmth” (up from 392).

As a percentage, the “non-decent” council homes has risen from four per cent of the council’s housing stock, in 2014, to nine per cent last year.

Other councils have made great progress during the same time. In Kingston the number of “non decent” has fallen from 1,596 to 91. Havering has seen a fall from 1,929 to just 40.

By contrast when the Conservatives were running the Council the number of “non-decent council homes” was reduced. In the last four years of the Conservatives running the Council the number fell by more than half. In 2010 it was 1,322. As noted above by 2014 it was down to 536.

I wrote earlier about the amount of new affordable housing being slashed under Labour.

So the facts are stark. Labour uses class war rhetoric about being “on the side” of council tenants while portraying the Conservatives as the enemy. But the truth is that council tenants have lost out more than anyone else as a consequence of Labour running the Council.

 

Zebra loses its stripes

The zebra crossing outside the Duchess of Cambridge pub on the junction of Goldhawk Road and Stamford Brook Road is pretty badly faded, isn’t it?

I have raised the matter with the Council.

The Council’s Street Lighting & Signs Manager responds:

“Thank you for your observations relating to road markings on various zebra crossings at the junction of Goldhawk Road and Stamford Brook Road.

We have further inspected and will also re-mark the zebra crossing on Goldhawk Road at the entrance to Ravenscourt Park. The relevant order has been raised and these works should be completed within the next 28 working days.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, with further line marking maintenance requests in the future.”

Good news!