Thursday, 24 December 2009
This bah humbug approach is likely to cause confusion over the festive period. It will see many innocent victims being stung for the increased £120 fine as Boxing Day is traditionally a public holiday - when parking is free.
It's also a further blow to struggling retailers. The new restrictions will deter many potential customers and will particularly hit smaller family or individually owned shops that rely on the stop and pop-in trade for a proportion of their sales.
The Conservatives have followed this approach despite massive public criticism. This includes making the Daily Telegraph’s list of parking shame and being exposed by the Daily Mail after Hammersmith and Fulham trialled new rules to allow extra clamping to raise even more cash.
Friday, 18 December 2009
Taking Credit For Service Success They Have Nothing To Do With. What Does That Tell Us About H&F Conservatives Real Agenda?
Back in September, George Osborne was made to look silly. He gave a speech telling the public to look to Hammersmith and Fulham to understand how an incoming Tory government would operate. Channel 4 News were then hoodwinked into quoting the brand new £2million Shepherds Bush Library as an example of the Conservatives innovative new approach to delivering value orientated public services. The Times also fell into the same trap. The problem is that this wonderful new library was delivered by the last Labour Administration and was actually nothing to do with the Conservatives.
It’s understandable why the Tories want to be associated the new library. Labour arranged the deal in such a way that it would be at zero cost to the tax payer. It was negotiated as part the Westfield development.
It’s not just Shepherds Bush Library that our local Conservatives seek to take plaudits for. Banners fly from lamp post boasting of £200million being invested in local schools but that money is coming direct from the Labour Government. The Tories tell how Normand and Frank Banfield Parks have been revamped but that too was arranged by the last Labour Council. They even talk of paying off £12million of Council debt but, yes, that was done by Labour. There are many more examples but all this raises the question why?
The answer provides an interesting insight to H&F Conservatives' predicament. They know that there is a public consensus that backs efficient and effective front line services as an intrinsic aspect of our civilisation. They also know that they have set about radically cutting services but that this could lose them vital support. So they have decided to side-step this important detail and simply mislead the public about what is actually happening. Here are some of the thing our Conservative council has actually done:
- Closed youth clubs and cut youth facilities.
- Targeted parking wardens to raise over £1million more in parking fines and parking suspensions - making it onto the Daily Telegraph's list of parking shame.
- Introduced over 500 new stealth taxes.
- Put parking fines up 50%.
- Wasted £5million on propaganda.
- Flew to Cannes on the French Riviera at public expense to offer residents' homes and large parts of the borough to property speculators - even offering to fix the planning processes so that developers’ profits can be maximised.
- Risked childrens' health with a worrying approach to school meal deliveries.
- Locked the public out of parks and rented them out for exclusive events.
- Cut recycling, charging for garden waste and other household waste removal.
- Cut £905,000 from budget for children with complex needs but refused to guarantee that this wouldn’t put any child at risk.
- Refused to provide shelter for the homeless and even banned charities from running Christmas homeless care.
- Failed, through incompetence, to have our schools refurbished.
- Admitted they had put the elderly at risk by introducing a new £12.40 per hour charge for home care.
- Removed essential care from 1,350 elderly, sick and disabled residents.
- Used sharp practices to encourage elderly people with dementia from using meals on wheels services.
- Put meals on wheels charges up by £547 per year.
- Proposing to knock down 3500 residents' homes and force them out of the borough.
Interestingly, all this indicates an emptyness to H&F Conservatives' approach along with some embarrassment about what they’ve actually done. While it is flattering that our Tories should seek to boasts about Labour successes, it is surprising that they feel forced into doing so after nearly a full term in office.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Residents tell me that they smell a rat pointing out that H&F Council wrote the report recommending approval prior to the close of the consultation period.
I expect Wednesday’s meeting to be packed out. It will be interesting to see if this application will be pushed though by the Administration much as many others have. If you want to attend, then come to Hammersmith Town Hall for 7.00pm. It’s the first item on the agenda. I’ll see you there.
Friday, 4 December 2009
Regular readers will recall that the Conservatives hiked parking fines up by 50%. They then added an extra £500,000.00 cash target for wardens to generate through new parking fines. Now, as the Telegraph points out, Hammersmith and Fulham is amongst the “10 councils who have raked in the most in fines per head of population” in the UK.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Residents and affected businesses will have an opportunity to provide evidence to the independent review and residents’ groups are already preparing their submissions.
Despite there being major flaws in the planning report, H&F Conservatives have had the Council put out a response that is little short of belligerent. They say “The planning committee gave very careful consideration to all the issues” and “We are surprised that the Secretary of State considers that there are issues of such national importance to justify this intervention."