26 July 2007

Wanted: more news about Tory cuts

If you have any news, stories or evidence about cuts being made by the Conservative council in Hammersmith & Fulham, please email: hfconwatch@hotmail.co.uk

The next blog will be a bumper cuts edition in late August. As Elvis Costello used to sing, we are watching the Conservatives.

24 July 2007

Tories' disgraceful end of term report

As Hammersmith & Fulham Tory councillors head off for their summer holidays, the Class of 2006's end of term reports make dismal reading. There are still almost three years to their exams when they will finally leave school but cuts in school funds have made it a difficult year for this unpopular class. They gave themselves extra pocket money, but were caught out before they could leave the school gates. The school became notorious in the national media when members of the class flogged off the family silver in the playground. Their lessons have become increasingly noisy and disruptive, and local neighbours have made regular complaints about the class not listening.

Stephen Greenhalgh: Head boy. Still hankers after his old school but should have spent more time worrying about all the schools in his area. Must stop having seconds at lunchtime and do more PE.

Nicholas Botterill: Class swot. Can't keep a secret and is too keen to make others pay for their mistakes.

Antony Lillis: Always getting into trouble. Wants to be liked but can't help making big mistakes. Perhaps he is being bullied by his classmates.

Frances Stainton: History is her best subject. She knows which assets to sell in the school tuck shop.

Greg Smith: Not tolerant of other children. Puts all his eggs in one basket and surprised when things go wrong elsewhere.

Adronie Alford: Poor at home economics. Can't even get her own foot on the ladder in the gym.

Mark Loveday: Thinks he's the cleverest boy in class. Often claims credit for achievements of Class of 2002.

Paul Bristow: New boy. Should spend less time blogging. Typical bully - happy to dish it out but doesn't like it back.

16 July 2007


Amid farcical scenes Hammersmith & Fulham's Tory cabinet tonight agreed to evict all the vulnerable tenants of Elizabeth Finn House on Goldhawk Road so the site can be sold for redevelopment.

Questions Tories can't answer on home helps

In a dismal performance at Hammersmith Town Hall this evening, the Tory cabinet agreed to end home help services for more than 500 older and disabled people. Many more vulnerable people face losing their home help service later this year in the latest Tory cuts.

The disgraceful decision was matched by the Tory councillors' ignorance about the impact of the home help cuts on older and disabled people, who will be affected, how they can appeal against the removal of their service and what alternative support they might be able to use.

Tory leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh kept repeating that the Conservatives were making the cuts "with great regret". He and his fellow Tory cabinet members showed no signs of regret for the hundreds of people who will be left isolated and at risk without a home help service. Just to pay for a small council tax cut.

15 July 2007

Questions Tories can't duck on home helps

The Tory Cabinet in Hammersmith & Fulham is due to scrap home helps for hundreds of older and disabled people as part of its £34 million cuts package on Monday 16 July (see previous blogs).

More than 500 people will lose their home help service with almost 900 others facing the same prospect later this year, if the Cabinet goes ahead with the cuts.

Questions the Tory Cabinet must answer include:

* how many people will lose their home care and other services and why?
* how many more people will lose their home care service later this year?
* in the future how many people will never get the service they need because of the cuts?
* how will the council decide who will lose their service and how can people appeal about the decision?
* what support and services will be provided instead to people whose home help is scrapped?
* how much will these cuts cost the council in the long run as people's needs increase because they can't get the support they need now?

And finally why are the Tories making some of the most vulnerable people in the borough pay for the cut in the council tax?

JOIN the protest on Monday evening from 6.30pm outside Hammersmith Town Hall - the Cabinet meeting starts at 7pm.

Council faces legal action on Law Centre cut

Three people who live or work in Hammersmith and Fulham have issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court to stop the Tory council cutting the Law Centre’s grant. The three are challenging the proposed 60% grant cut, and applying for a ‘fast track’ order for the case to be heard urgently. The three individuals are:

* a long leaseholder represented by the Law Centre at Leasehold Valuation Tribunal: ‘the centre provides such an important service, without the help of the Law Centre in King Street, I know I would have lost not only my home but also my sanity’;

* a Fulham mother, a British citizen, whose children were refused British citizenship and won her High Court battle with help from the Law Centre;

* a shop assistant and former volunteer from a refugee community group being represented by the Law Centre at Employment Tribunal in an equal pay claim.

The three argue that the council's decision to cut the Law Centre's grant was unlawful because they failed to carry out any proper consultation and also that the Council's decision-making process in reducing the priority given to immigration advice was in breach of its duties under the Race Relations Act 1976.

Hammersmith and Fulham Community Law Centre has been funded by the council for 28 years. The decision to reduce the Law Centre's annual funding from £261,000 to £102,000 was made with less than two weeks notice and with no opportunity for representations to be made. No reasons were given, despite the fact that council officers recently rated the service ‘best value’ and assessed the current grant application as a 95% fit with the Council’s own funding criteria.

Sue Willman, solicitor for the claimants, said: "This cut will reduce access to justice for local residents, especially those who are disadavantaged and most in need of legal advice at a time when legal aid is already in short supply. The Law Centre's clients are calling on the High Court to intervene because the decision is unlawful and discriminatory."

08 July 2007

Care users pay the price for council tax cut

Hundreds of vulnerable older people and disabled people will lose their home help service because of Conservative Hammersmith & Fulham council's recent council tax cut.

To fund the cut, almost 1500 home help users will be 're-assessed' to see who will lose their service. A report to the Tory Cabinet warns that more cuts in home care will follow later this year so this is just the thin end of the wedge.

PROTEST at the Tory Cabinet meeting considering this disgraceful decision on Monday 16 July at Hammersmith Town from 6.30pm - the meeting starts at 7pm.

The same Cabinet meeting is also due to agree spending more money on IT systems while cutting vital local services!

05 July 2007

Tell them what you really think

If you're angry, upset or disgusted about the Tory councillors' cuts to home helps, the police, the voluntary sector or other local services in Hammersmith & Fulham, tell them what you think at their surgery.

The best surgery to go to is on the first Saturday of every month (ie Saturday 7 July) from 11am-12noon at Fulham Library (if it hasn't been closed down by then), 598 Fulham Road.

There you should find either Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh (Tory council leader), or Cllr Antony Lillis (chief cutter) or Cllr Greg Smith (partner in crime).

Who's watching neighbourhood watch?

Local neighbourhood watch schemes have always been politically impartial, working with the police to help prevent crime.

That was until the Conservatives took control of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

First the boroughwide Neighbourhood Watch Association appointed former Tory government minister Douglas Hurd as its president.

Now the council is issuing press releases about local Tories running neighbourhood watch schemes. Anthony Frieze, who chairs Avonmore & Brook Green Conservatives and was runner up in the Tories' selection for their Hammersmith parliamentary candidate, is singled out in the following release:


Strangely these neighbourhood watch meetings seem to be attended only by Conservative Party members. And the council again is publishing party political propaganda paid for by council tax.

04 July 2007

Greg Hands for Mayor of London?

Rumours are circulating that Hammersmith & Fulham Tory MP Greg Hands will throw his hat into the ring to challenge Boris Johnson as the Conservative candidate for next May's Mayoral election.

Hundreds set to lose home help and support

Hundreds of home help users in Hammersmith & Fulham will lose this vital service if the Tory cabinet agrees a major cut at its next meeting on 16 July.

In a desperate bid to slash social services spending, the Tories propose to re-assess the needs of almost 1500 older and disabled people to see whether they will continue to receive home care and other practical support with meals, equipment and daycare.

It is expected that well over 500 people will have their service withdrawn, with the prospect of many more ruled out of services in the future.

The Tory cabinet paper anticipates a legal challenge to this huge cut in services to some of the most vulnerable people in the borough. And the report calls on the cabinet to consider further cuts in the coming months.

Protest against this disgraceful move at the Cabinet meeting on Monday 16 July at 7pm at Hammersmith Town Hall.