Tuesday 20 October 2009

Are H&F Conservatives Taking The Proper Precautions With Our Kids’ School Meals?

You could easily have missed the advert (opposite) while flicking through the local paper. It reads “Owner Drivers Required” and calls for people “With van or estate car for deliveries of school meals in the Hammersmith and Fulham area”.

Intrigued, I called them. Their client is our very own Conservative run Hammersmith and Fulham Council. The schools meals transport service was recently privatised and the firm at the other end of the phone now have the contract.

Mischievously, I made out I was applying for the job. I said that I also move horticultural items around in my car, such as compost, and would be driving Christmas trees around at the same time as the school meals from November onwards. They didn’t object and asked me if I wanted an application form. I didn’t and I’m not sure many parents will feel happy when they find out about this latest Tory scam.

UPDATE: Dan Hodges of the Hammersmith Gazette has featured this story in this week's newspaper. He tells how he also called the number in the advert and made out he moved "building waste" around in the van he proposed to deliver our children's school dinners in. They diligently sent him an application form. Click onto the attached article to read Dan Hodges piece in full.

Monday 19 October 2009

VIDEO: The Guardian Investigates H&F Conservatives' Plans To Demolish Residents' Homes

Dave Hill of the Guardian has taken a long hard look at H&F Conservatives controversial proposals to knock down residents' homes and force people to move out of the Borough. You can watch the video by clicking here.

Oddly, the Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council refused to give an interview to the journalist. This is exactly what happened, back in June, when the BBC also asked for a H&F Conservative politician to appear on the Politics Show to explain the politics of their plans to deprive residents of their homes.

It seems that H&F Conservatives are doing their very best to cover up details of their controversial scheme, which will affect over 3500 Hammersmith and Fulham residents. One would think they felt they have something to hide. Click here to see the Guardian's video.

H&F Council Tells Property Speculators We Will "Remove The Uncertainty Around Planning Applications"

“Our planning policies are changing to attract development and to remove the uncertainty around planning applications.” It's hard to believe but that statement is made by H&F Council about its own quasi-judicial planning process and implies that everything will somehow be fixed to assure property speculators that their applications will go through smoothly. You can view all this for yourself at 2 minutes and 13 seconds into their promotional video below:

H&F's Conservative Administration published the video in 2007. It sheds light on a bewildering series of planning permissions that have outraged residents and will contribute to blighting neighbourhoods across the borough.

Concerns were first raised when a senior Conservative councillor flew to Cannes on the French Riviera to begin secret talks with property speculators. H&F Council has consistently refused to provide minutes or agenda of those meetings and initially tried to tell the Opposition that there were no formal conversations. They did however explain that the trip was organised to talk to speculators about “contentious development sites”.

Over the last few years residents have seen planning applications granted by the Conservatives which have gone against all objective evidence. The Goldhawk Industrial Estate is fresh in the memory but other “contentious” schemes have been pushed through in Hammersmith Grove, Glenthorne Road and Larden and Percy Roads. Worst of all and as this video demonstrates, the Council is also quite far down the line in talks about knocking down thousands of people’s homes.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Boris Imposes Second Round Of Inflation-Busting Tube & Bus Fare Hikes

There are two major aspects of the London Mayor’s budget. Transport and policing. So, having told the Conservative Party Conference that David Cameron and George Osborne should follow him in making “tough decisions about public spending” it is no surprise that Boris Johnson today announced that tube fares will increase by 3.9% and bus fares will be hiked up by a staggering 12.7%. This is the second round of fare rises introduced by Boris Johnson since he became London’s Mayor.

It would be interesting to know if the Mayor had considered how much this will add to the average London household’s weekly bill and if he balanced those calculations against his decision to:

  • Lose £50million by abandoning the £25 gas guzzler charge
  • Cost Londoners £30million by replacing bendy buses with the lower capacity single and double deckers
  • Lose significant sums designing a new bus
  • Cancelling the cheap fuel contract

I am writing to TfL to ask about the Mayor's further cuts in tube and bus services and will report more later on. As for the police and crime fighting budget: I understand that the Mayor is reviewing these and I will let you know the consequences for residents of Hammersmith and Fulham when I have more details.