It is interesting to note Iain Dale's blog today extolling the virtues of a Tory Council (Hammersmith and Fulham), praising them for cutting council tax by 3% and asking why other councils cannot do this.
Perhaps the answer lies with the methods they use in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Take, for example, the council's view on community groups that use council buildings. They are, according to Hammersmith and Fulham Council not really that important. After all, they are not businesses, I guess they do not work on the basis of market forces, therefore, there existence and survival is of little concern. That is why Hammersmith and Fulham sold off buildings owned by the council that were used by local community groups. Yes, a cost saving was gained by the council, but at what cost to the voluntary and community groups ?
But there is more too. The Tories have also, since taking charge of H & F Council taken over £1 million out of the Council’s savings, closed a secondary school, and along with a number of other Tory councils have slashed the home help and meals-on wheels services..
But don't worry, council tax is down 3%.
Did I mention that road sweeping budgets have also gone down by £500, 000 cut street cleaning by more than £500,000.
Don;t worry, council tax is down 3%.
Of course that is of no benefit if you die in Hammersmith and Fulham because the Tories introduced increased burial cost for local people by almost 50%.
Ah, but it is not much better if you are alive and want a home. The Tory Council cancelled 500 affordable homes.
But as Iain point out, you can achieve a 3% cut in council tax. As long, it appears, as you put up charges, close things, sell things off and raid your council reserves.
One Labour activist goes on the attack about last year's budget HERE, but if you believe him or the Tory view, and it is interesting to note that the Tory refers to miserly council tax increases, the truth is that H&F Council received one of the most generous government grant increases of any London Borough last year, there has clearly been a policy of increased charges, costs and sell offs.
Iain, you may hail this as good news. I would suggest voluntary groups, first time buyers, and a host of others would disagree.