Tuesday 29 November 2011

H&F Conservatives Say £7,000 Tax Payer Funded Booze-Up Was Er... "Good For Morale"

Hard to earn but easy to waste. Over £7,000 of tax payers'
cash squandered on H&F Council knees up. But H&F
Conservatives say they'll do it all again
There has been quite a lot of squirming from the Borough’s ruling Conservative councillors over the last few days. That's all a consequence of this story about how they squandered £7,104 of tax payers’ money on a leaving party that started at 4.00pm on a Monday afternoon. 

The Shepherds Bush Blog and HFConWatch also featured the story and I expect other media to pick it up too.

Just for the record, I want residents and senior officers of Hammersmith and Fulham Council to know that should Labour win control of the Council on 1st May 2014, I will stop all tax payers’ money being spent on parties, socials, leaving functions and other such frivolous waste. I’m more than happy for people to have leaving get-togethers which are paid for privately with their own money and happen after work hours. But that’s it.

I’m actually surprised that H&F Conservatives think this is OK. The Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle contacted three people in the Conservative Administration and is reporting Cllr. Stephen Greenhalgh (Con), the Leader of the Council saying “I am never going to stop spending some money” on such celebrations.

Cllr. Peter Graham (Con)
Cllr. Harry Phibbs (Con), the Cabinet Member for Community Engagement was recently calling for even more cuts but on this occasion he advised the Chronicle that this £7,000 bash was “good for morale” and says the public will “understand it was the right thing to do.”

Going by the Twitter exchanges between the recently elected Cllr. Peter Graham (Con) and the Chronicle, he appeared to have a touch more apprehension of what the public would really think. That was presumably why that paper had to ask for his view an incredible ten times while he tried to obfuscate and duck out of directly answering whether he supported this £7k splurge or not. Others joined in and he eventually came clean and said that he “doesn’t have a problem with it” because the Council is making cuts elsewhere. 

Hmmm. These are really very tough times for many local people but even if they weren't, I would still have a problem with this. That £7,104 was not the Council's money, they were simply custodians of it - it was the public's money. The politicians and officials that decided to squander it in this manner showed no respect for that or indeed any appreciation of how hard many people work just to pay bills, such as their council tax. I hope H&F Conservatives get that message before we uncover more such senseless waste.

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