28 February 2008

Biggest con trick in Britain

The Tory council in Hammersmith & Fulham is claiming the 'biggest council tax cut in Britain'.

But what does £27 a year off your council tax bill really mean?

First, there are £36 million cuts in local services, particularly hitting the most vulnerable residents. Secondly, there are closures of local facilities and sales of community assets.

And thirdly most people are now paying more than the council tax cut in higher fees and charges for local services. That's why it's the 'biggest con trick in Britain'.

21 February 2008

When does 3 equal 4?

You won't have spotted this on the council website, but the recent Audit Commission corporate assessment score for Hammersmith & Fulham council is three.

Not exactly what you hear from the Tories themselves who trumpet the council as a four star authority. That rating is very much a hangover from the performance assessment of the previous administration.

18 February 2008

Half full or half empty, Harry?

Tory councillor Harry Phibbs has been using his job on the Evening Standard diary to promote hfconwatch, in particular the last blog below.

Poor old Harry obviously didn't appreciate the irony of Tory councillors having to drink tap water.

And he missed the real point of the blog - the Tories' £36 million cuts in local services.

Hurry up Harry. And stop drinking the funny water!

15 February 2008


The Tories in H&F are crowing about their latest cut - ending the use of bottled water across the council.

Now councillors, officers and members of the public attending local meetings will have to rely on mains water. Are taps being installed in the leader's office?

The council says this move saves £36,000 or just 0.1% of the £36 million cuts they are making in local services. Obviously the Tories hope this will distract attention from 99.9% of the cuts!

14 February 2008

What is going on in H&F? part 3

Shepherds Bush central line station closed almost two weeks ago as the Tory council colluded with the Westfield developers and London Underground.

But fearing a backlash from local residents angry about the closure, the council has since claimed credit for the extra alternative transport services provided.

The problem is that is not true. Extra buses were only put on because of pressure from Shepherds Bush MP Andy Slaughter.

The Tory council's PR machine seems to be operating with no checks as it spews forth more lies, distortions and political propaganda.

What is going on in H&F? part 2

The Tories have been mounting a strange local campaign in Hammersmith.

Fly-posters and leaflets about a referendum on the European treaty have appeared all over the north of the borough. They carry no imprint which is illegal and fly-posting is also illegal.

So why has the Tory council taken no action against the perpetrators? Surely not because they might be Tory councillors?

What is going on in H&F? part 1

Hammersmith & Fulham residents are getting used to the Tory council selling off community assets.

But now the Tories have gone a step further - they have given away part of the borough to Kensington & Chelsea!

The councillors for the area affected - Little Wormwood Scrubs - only found about the 'transfer' when they read the local paper.

And the mastermind behind the move appears to be Cllr Paul Bristow, the Tory cabinet member supposedly for residents services.

05 February 2008

Down Down plumbs new depths

What next for Tory Hammersmith & Fulham council?

Having sunk to doing Status Quo covers on YouTube, what should Harry Hammersmith & The Flyovers play next?

Please email your suggestions to: hfconwatch@hotmail.co.uk or add your comments to this blog.

For starters, how about Rod Stewart's The First Cuts (sic) are the Deepest?

And why weren't the band called Frankie Fulham and the West Kens? No need to reply to that...

03 February 2008

£36 million cuts cuts cuts

More than £36 million of cuts in local services are due to be agreed by the Tory cabinet in Hammersmith & Fulham on 4 February, with over £15 million being cut from spending in 2008-9 alone.

There are new cuts to services for older people (home care, nursing homes, meals on wheels) and children (play and childcare, school meals) and libraries. Perhaps the meanest cut of all is the help to families on low incomes with grants for clothing, music and dance.

While the Tories boast about small cuts to council tax (just £27 less than 2004), the cabinet will also vote to increase fees and charges for a wide range of services by an average 5% with some facing much higher increases. Strangely the cabinet papers on the revamped (how much did that cost? It's not very user friendly) council website do not include appendix G with details of the fee increases.

The cabinet is also due to agree two other highly controversial reports:

* the privatisation of waste collection, recycling and street cleaning with the contract awarded for at least seven years to Serco. More than £900k has been cut from these services in the last year, but the tenders all came in higher than budgeted. So the Tory council reduced the specification for street cleaning and still it has failed to meet its cuts target through the contract award

* the appointment of development partners for the town hall site to create new council offices. This will mean the demolition of 54 flats for blind people and the Quakers Friends meeting house as well as the end of the cinema in King Street.

02 February 2008

Pull the other one

Having colluded in the closure of Shepherds Bush central line station, the Tory council has issued a press release with its leader Stephen Greenhalgh claiming credit for TfL concessions the day before the station closed on 2 February.

The Tories clearly failed to understand how upset local residents are about the station closure and even published a leaflet supporting the closure.

Desperately trying to backtrack, the Tories are now trying to claim credit for the campaign waged by Andrew Slaughter, MP for Shepherds Bush, which has exposed the truth about why the station has been closed and led to TfL making major improvements to alternative services during the closure.

Pull the other one, Cllr Greenhalgh. Readers can write to the Tory leader of the council at stephen.greenhalgh@lbhf.gov.uk and ask why the council colluded with the developers and supported the station closure and how the council will compensate businesses and others affected.

You can be sure that if a station in Fulham was threatened with long-term closure that the Tories would oppose it vigorously.