Just got in from another Council meeting… This one was to supposedly scrutinise H&F Council’s approach to providing value for money to local residents. They presented a very odd report on the new charges and fees that residents have to pay on top of their Council tax. It was odd because it only had figures for the financial year 2007/8. You can read it here.
When I asked to see how those fees compared to what residents were paying in previous years - with a column explaining the percentage increases - Cllr. Mark Loveday (Con), the Cabinet Member for Strategy, became very agitated. Then, despite Council officers explaining that they thought my request was pretty straight-forward, he said that he was concerned about the “cost” to the borough of answering such a question.
I think he was more concerned about the cost to the Conservative Party when local residents find out about the other new charges they’re now having to pay. We know about the 55% increase in meals-on-wheels charges, the 60% increase in burial charges, the 50% hike in parking fines, the new charges being piloted for recycling and the new £6.50 fee for removing garden rubbish.
It’s our job as the Official Opposition to ask such questions. It happens in every democratic society in the world so it’s peculiar that a leading Conservative councillor should seek to stop it in Hammersmith and Fulham. I’ll let you know what it was that Cllr. Loveday is so worried about us all finding out about as soon as I get the answers.