Labour u-turn on tri-borough?

At last week’s council meeting in Hammersmith and Fulham, the Labour councillor Cllr Andrew Jones, the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said the Council’s tri-borough arrangement with Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster was “an epic disaster and waste of money”.

Yet in February I was told by Hitesh Jolapara, the Council’s Director for Finance

“The savings from shared services identified in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) were £5.3m and £4.2m respectively.

“In 2015/16 the savings directly ascribed to shared services are £2.3m.

“In part the 2015/16 figure is lower because a fresh look has been taken at how savings are categorised. A number of savings were previously identified as relating to shared services when that was only part of the picture. For example accommodation savings were previously identified as relating to shared services when other factors, such as the reduction in employee numbers, outsourcing and smartworking were also important.”

Even if we take the lower figure of £2.3 million that saving is significant. It is equivalent to five per cent of the Council Tax revenue.

Does Cllr Jones claim his own finance team have got their figures wrong? If not, and he still wants to break away from tri-borough, where will he find the £2.3 million?

I suspect that Cllr Jones knows he was talking nonsense and that the tri-borough savings will continue.