Sunday 19 October 2008

H&F Council Targets Small Businesses In Money Making Scam

There seems to be an attempt by H&F Council to ramp up the cash it generates from small and medium sized businesses. The Trojan Horse for this is commercial waste legislation that was introduced in the early 1990s.

Over the last year I have been contacted by many small businesses who all tell a similar tale. First, they get a letter from H&F Council demanding to see their Waste Transfer Papers for the last six months. Then, when the small business owner contacts the Council to ask what this is all about, they are handed a £180 fine. I've been a councillor for eleven years and I've never come across this before.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of people disposing of their waste responsibly and acting within the law. But, even those businesses that are getting rid of their waste properly are still fined because the Council says they must have their papers. Given the fact that most small businesses usually don’t have access to advice on these matters then I would have thought the onus was on the Council to let people know of their requirements.

H&F Council has failed to sufficiently alert business owners of the need for these papers. I suspect the reason for this is that some Council official decided that it is easier to follow this path to extra cash than to deliver genuine efficiencies in their department. The Conservative Administration isn’t known for their attention to detail but as they have been copied in my emails on this and refrained from action, I can only conclude that they are just pleased to see the incoming revenue.

Considering the current global economic uncertainty then this is all highly irresponsible but add in that last year both the Council’s political parties voted to agree what is written below, then it makes the Conservative Administration look like incompetent hypocrites at best:

"This Council notes the publication of an independent Commission on Retail Conservation set up by Kensington & Chelsea Council and the recent submission to the Council by the Fulham Society of "Renaissance in Fulham". As a result of increasing concern at the disappearance of independent retailers, this Council resolves to study these two reports and further consider ways in which to support shops and the local economy in Hammersmith & Fulham.”

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