Monday, 15 December 2008

TaxPayers’ Alliance Tells H&F Council to “Hang Their Heads In Shame” On Soaring Propaganda Cost

Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, has identified Hammersmith and Fulham’s Conservative run Council on a list of authorities squandering public money on spin and misleading PR. Mr Elliott explained that he thinks "It is incredibly disappointing that, despite the economic downturn” H&F Council has increased spending by an inflation busting 11.3 per cent – one of the largest increases in the UK. This takes the total expenditure on propaganda to £836,000.00. This sum is equal to 1.4 per cent of council tax, it could be used to halt the cuts to our elderly, sick and disabled residents' care services or more than double H&F Council's current spending on police. Mr. Elliott explained that Hammersmith and Fulham Council “should hang their heads in shame. In the middle of a recession, councils need to cut back on propaganda and spin doctors and deliver savings to taxpayers.”

Hammersmith and Fulham is one of the boroughs with the smallest populations and geographical areas to appear on the list, so proportionally H&F is easily amongst the top spending local authorities in the country.

Cllr. Mike Cartwright (Lab), H&F Council’s Vice Chair of the Audit Committee, added “What is sad is that the £836,000.00 is only part of the total spend as the Council has concealed large aspects of its PR budget by allocating it differently. I think there needs to be a full independent inquiry into this highly dubious use of public money. Earlier this month, we again saw how the Council spent residents’ cash to scaremonger and spread disinformation. This can’t be right. This all comes at a time when there are 578 new Tory Stealth Taxes with parking up 12.5%, Meals on Wheels up 40% and the elderly sick and disabled now given a brand new £12.40 hourly charge for their care services. Residents deserve better”.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's class war politics all over again. What I don't understand is why apart from an initial 'squeal', individuals who are/will be affected, don't continue to challenge the council. Why in particular aren't unions more vocal? If everyone joined forces, it would be a powerful force. Great for politicians to be highlighting the disgrace that is our borough's current administration, but why not go further? Yes £12.40 per hour charge for essential support for older and disabled, could become reality for many of us forcing even more choices to be made between eating, heating etc.
How about fighting the spin by doing something radical like telling the truth.

Dave said...

The Evening Standard also published a similar story showing that H&F Council is now in the top five, of thrity three London Councils, to the increase in its spending on spin and publicity.