The LibDems have been busy little bees with their shouty orange leaflets again this weekend.
The leaflet I saw quoted LibDem leader Harvey Rose as saying:
Last year the council made a number of cuts. This resulted in a worsening Parking Services department and a record level of official ‘Ombudsman’ complaints.
The LibDems always confuse inputs with outputs so when we try to to do more for less they always cry “cuts”. That is why LibDem run Richmond and Kingston have the highest council taxes in London. The average Band D council tax in London is about £1,000. It costs you about £250 a year more to live in Richmond or Kingston, see the figures here.
I run parking so I can tell you we inherited a service that is not good enough which is taking a long time to get right. It is a big job. Harvey and I will just have to disagree on the direction of travel.
His last claim is where you get to test his objectivity. On complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman Rose is quite simply talking crap. You can see the Ombudsman’s report or letter as it is called for the last year here.
The figures are quite clear. The year before the Conservatives came to power, 2005/6, the Ombudsman received 254 complaints about Ealing. The next year, most of which we were in power, the number went down to 222. In 2007/8 it was 206. So Rose says black is white.
These number do sound quite high but of the 230 complaints against Ealing that were dealt with last year they found 51 were premature, ie the complainant had gone straight to the Ombudsman and not raised the complaint with Ealing, no maladministration was found in 43 complaints, they exercised discretion to close a further 30 without requiring action by the Council and they found 46 were outside their jurisdiction. This meant that only 60 complaints were substantial. Still too many. Worryingly of these 60 three were what they call “formal reports”. These are the worst offences and three is an unacceptably high number. You might want to know when these happened: April 2001, September 2003 and February 2006. Rose might want the Tory group to atone for these historical offences but really he should have a go at the Labour group.
The LibDems are notorious for printing porkies in the expectation that people will take what they say at face value. Harvey’s not the youngest LibDem. I would have thought that some of the younger ones might have pointed out that the internet kind of means it is harder to lie nowadays. You’ve been found out mate.