Ealing and Northfield

£50 cashback

As part of a £6 million recession busting package every household in Ealing will be getting £50 cashback later this year. See the story in tonight’s Evening Standard here. It is nice to see ex-Ealing Times reporter Benedict Moore-Bridger keeping in touch with his old stomping ground.

Jason Stacey, council leader, says:

We know how hard the recession has hit local people which is why I am proposing the country’s biggest ever council cash back scheme to help them during the credit crunch.

Ealing Council has built up strong reserves to see us through these difficult economic times. But, it is also important to remember that this money belongs to local people so it is only right that we give back some money during the recession.

The cash back scheme will be accompanied by a campaign to encourage residents to shop locally so that this £6million plus cash injection should also benefit our retailers.

21 replies on “£50 cashback”


Won’t some people see it as a ‘bribe’?

‘Ooh, I’ll vote for those nice Tories in May 2010 because they gave me some cash’.

Won’t some people see it as a lack of imagination by the Council in how to spend the £6.5 million, plus the extra millions for administering the scheme?

How can the Council have any control whatsoever over how residents spend the cash?


If this money was sitting in the council’s coffers then why didn’t we get a cut in council tax this year. £50 off our bills at that time would have been simpler to implement.

Even so, its not like we are getting tangible cash. I am assuming it will just be credited against our council tax account. The 50 we get now, will of course be recouped after the 2010 elections when “value for money” will no longer be a priority for the tories after their “non anti-tram mandate”


As is known from my previous comments on the budget on this website, I thought the budget was a bodge up and now we know.

A new arts centre extension should be provided in Central Ealing. £6.5 million would go a long way towards this.

This borough needs more assets – not electioneering bribes.


“…plus the extra millions for administering the scheme?”

erhh how much does Eric Leach think it costs the Council to pay money into people’s accounts?

I suspect this measure will go down very well in parts of the borough where househld budgets are tighter. The fact it is a flat payment means that the poorest residents in band a properties benefit as much as those in band h properties.

well done for not squirrelling it away to spend on pet projects that will only benefit a few in leafy central ealing.


Some of the responses here are incredible. Some suggesting to spend on something else … excuse me, but this is MY money. I will decide what to spend it on. It is not responsible for any administration to ‘find’ something to spend (or as Labour likes to label it ‘invest’) it on. Spending for the sake of spending is irresponsible.

I can see the efficiencies of taking it off the council tax, but that would be just as effective as Labour’s 2% VAT cut – ie. not effective at all. Having a £50 bonus literally in the pocket will incentivise people to spend it – many will choose to do it in our local shops. I for one, will ensure I do.

Propaganda? Electioneering? Bribe? Perhaps – but of the good sort. A £50 rebate sure beats the double-digit rate INCREASES in council taxes we got under the wasteful, incompetent Labour council year-after-year. Now who wants to go back to those bad old days?


Why not just reduce business rates for struggling retailers or relax parking restrictions over the weekend to attract more shoppers?

This seems to be a bit gimmicky to me.


Squirting a payment into someone’s bank account by electronic payment costs about 10p so don’t let’s get hung up on the costs of the scheme.

The reason we can’t take it off the council tax is a) we have already set the council tax and it is hard to change it now and b) this is a one-off sum so we can’t take it off council tax which recurs every year.

It is valid to ask why it can’t be spent on a capital item. The simple reason is that we are doing a lot of capital projects right now and we lack the capacity to do much more. You know about our large road programme, you know about the £3 million we are spending in parks on capital projects, you know about the heritage work at Pitzhanger and Hanwell Community Centre, you know about the large schools programmes – there comes a point where it is just unwise to try to do more at the same time.

George mentions the idea of an arts centre. This may well have some legs but there are some incredibly bad projects around like the Curve and the Public. Go and do some research. It is all very well putting up the capital (probably rather more than £6.5 million) but you then have to have a matching revenue stream to pay the running costs. If the supporters of the idea of an arts centre in Ealing would like to do some work on the users and income streams we can have a grown up conversation. Just talking about building white elephants in the current climate is plain silly.

The council has a range of reserves against a number of contingencies. We don’t need to squirrel away more of people’s money. It is not the council’s. It is ours and I am glad we are giving some back. If people don’t like us being respectful of their cash the LibDems and Labour always have lots of ways of spending it. You decide.



We are not entitled to set business rates. The business rates are a nationally set tax levied by government. Councils are mere agents of HMG in collecting it.


I won’t accept a bribe.

We’ll give the cash if and when it arrives to charity.

We give you our cash because we have to. We expect you to invest it and spend it wisely. It’s really not that much to

How much were the administration costs incurred by the borough you stole this idea from?

‘White elephants’. Oh Councillor, this is near the bone. The Government piles into the Arcadia elephant on Tuesday and the Dickens Yard elephant is still mired in all kinds of poo on its way – perhaps – to Mayor Johnson.

I don’t expect answers from you Councillor. Why should you change your two year old habits now?

‘..grown up conversations…’ – you really do have the common touch don’t you.


Good for you Eric. I am very happy for you if £50 is not that much at all. However There are plenty of pensioners in this borough who think £50 is a lot of money. They had to suffer year on year increases (average 10%pa)in their council tax during twelve years of a labour administration who believed it was their right to “invest” and spend as much of our money as they could get their hands on. Call it a bribe if you wish but if you had read Phils response above you will see that we are at capacity at the moment with the capital projects we have, and i really don’t think the majority will be as upset as you are that we don’t feel obliged to dream up some some of scheme to spend their money on. You very rarely get value for money when you are spending just for the sake of it as we have seen from the way Labour spent our money. I for one hope to spend my £50 in hanwell town centre when the time comes.



I can’t actually believe that you believe what you are saying.

Surely you are a big enough person not to go all party political on us.

We are going to give the bribe to the Log Cabin. I may not be as rich as you think I am – but whether I am or not is not the point. Giving away this cash is the low point of this Conservative administration. It’s even lower than the Arcadia Planning Committee meeting – which really is saying something.

We don’t all give the Council money so they can give it back to us. We expect you to spend it wisely now or in the future.

I have read Phil’s response. How many ordinary folks know what ‘at capacity’ actually means? If one or both of you are going to attempt to justify the bribe please do it terms which normal humans can understand.

This is a PR initiative which is going to go horribly wrong.

How much will it cost to administer distributing this bribe to 122,000 households? Do I have to issue a Freedom of Information request to find out?

Good for you in spending your £50 in Hanwell centre. You’ll pick up lots at the £1 stores and at Lidl’s. I do so recommend the cheap tinned tomatoes at Lidl’s.


I am not happy about the cashback for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I was happy enough that the Tory council had stopped the escalation in council tax rises year after year. All I wanted was for them to use the money wisely to maintain services.

But the main reason I disagree is as follows. I live on the Uxbridge Road somewhere between West Ealing and Hanwell. I Have lived in my small but affordable top-floor conversion flat for about 10 years now. For the first 7-plus years I was able to get a decent night’s sleep in my bedroom which is in the back. But sometime in 2007 the building started shaking with short violent thuds every time a night bus or other heavy vehicle sped past. As someone who works full-time and studies part-time, I have suffered from disturbed sleep ever since and it has affected all areas of my life. I figured out the reason why the building shook was because the road at the bus stop nearby had become rippled, the ripples and bumps spreading the vibrations through to the building. Quite obvious, really. It is easy to notice vehicles bobbing up and down as they pass by.

In late 2007 I phoned the council to try and get the problem fixed so my life could continue as it had for over seven years previously. I was told that it was in the budget that the road surface in question was scheduled to be replaced in early 2008. Being the very patient person I am, I waited as subterranean works on the stretch of road nearby were carried out, and also new paving and guttering were put down. I waited even longer in good faith that the work would be done. After it became apparent it wasn’t going to be, I emailed my ward councillors but I don’t think any replied. Finally, in May 2009 I again spoke to the council employee responsible and I was told that the work was not going to be done due to budgetary constraints.

This is why I do not agree with giving back the money. If there are budgetary constraints, please do not give the money back, just get the work done. Or are there budgetary constraints because the money is being given back? I don’t understand. Every time I get jolted from my sleep by the traffic, it makes me extremely angry, something I need to control to have any chance of sleep.


It is clear from your response that you think very little of this conservative administration, very little of the people of Ealings ability to understand that we are at capacity as far as spending their money is concerned. Do you really think that you are one of a special group who understand this and that the rest need a picture drawing for them. You also seem to have a very low opinion of hanwell. there are plenty of places where I could spend my £50. I might want to spend my £50 in a restaurant in Hanwell, or one of the many cafes, in the school uniform shop, in the gym, in the music equipment shop, in the car accessories shop, in the hardware shop, in the microcentre shop where i left a laptop this week to be repaired, in the chineese, or one of the off licences. there are plenty of shops in Hanwell where i could spend this money. You seem to want people to believe that all there is to hanwell is the £ shop or lidls.
I will try one last time to explain. We underspent other peoples money and we have a lot on so we are returning £50 to every household in the borough as it was theirs in the first place. We could have dreamt up another way to spend their money but we thought that with the recession, people might be glad to have it back and also they would know how best to spend it. the end


I’m really surprised by some of the comments here.

As far as I’m concerned this is similar to receiving a Tax Refund from HM Inland Revenue. This is my money which I have had to pay in Tax. If it turns out that I have overpaid, then I expect the extra amount to be paid back to me.

Some people may want to give it to charity, others to put it towards ever increasing Gas and Electricity bills, yet others to save it for later or go out for a meal – what is important is that they decide what to do with it because it’s their money.


So everything is fixed is it? I’d be happy to accept £50 if when I went to the Public Inquiry on Monday in the Victoria Hall the sound system worked, (and the speakers were facing the audience) if our FoI request was returned in 4 weeks not 11 and told us less than we already know, if we had a road safety officer like other boroughs, if the officer charged with that duty actually replied, if a responsible officer had checked to see that the South Ealing Road diversion was working smoothly, if the public were actually consulted about the changed position of the Lammas Park Gate (the Dept for Communities and Local Gov were told we were so we must have been), if ,if ,if, if ,if ,if



It’s true I am most unhappy with a number of aspects about some Ealing Council’s policies and the prosecution of its policies. Party politics doesn’t come into it from my perspective. Real Tories and New Labour Tories they
/you are all a bit of a muchness

If I don’t understand what ‘capacity’ means in Ealing Council-speak then neither do 10,000s of Ealing tax payers.

I do not have a low opinion of Hanwell. I have a low opinion about how successive Ealing Council’s have let it degenerate and don’t have a strategic plan for its development – similar comments apply equally to West Ealing.

£1 Pound shops and LIDLs? I think you are confusing me with some other commenter.

As you might not have been able to attend much or any of the Arcadia Public Inquiry, I thought you might find my ‘Arcadia Inquiry’ blog useful at


EricI am not confusing you with another commneter re the £ shops and Lidls. Read the last paragraph of your comment on the 20th of June. Having said that I appreciate the point you have made re successive councils allowing the place to degenerate. Finally Eric, I would be absolutely amazed if you didn’t understand what at capacity means. It is a bit risky for you to say that if you don’t understand it then 10,000’s of Ealing residents won’t understand it


If the Council is at capacity then perhaps the money should be used to reduce borrowing and so reduce interest payments in future years – possibly giving us 50 quid or more over a period. Interest rates are doomed to rise and so now is the time to do this.

I doubt that the Council is over capacity to pay a cheque in at the bank.

Whatever capacity means in Council speak, it is no more than some manager’s opinion only.

I do not support this so called refund/rebate/bribe. It was bribe enough to hold the rates, knowing that there is a likelihood of Council spending being hammered by central government after May 2010 (or earlier). There should have been a marginal increase.

£50 is always nice, but its a mere 96p a week for those on benefits.


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