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Ealing and Northfield

New cabinet presented

After last night’s annual council, or mayor making (sounds like something out of Lord of the Rings I know), the new Labour council leader has been swift to launch his new team. It is interesting to see him taking a more collegiate approach compared to his last two predecessors, Conservative Jason Stacey and Labour’s Leo Thomson.

Bell listed five priorities:

– making the borough safer
– improving public services
– securing jobs and homes
– making the borough cleaner
– delivering value for money

It is good to see three out of five of these are taken straight from the previous administration’s list of three:

– cleaner streets
– safer communities
– value for money

The two new priorities look like a serious dilution. One reason we were so proud of what we did over the last four years is that the council managed to improve in our three focus areas where we put in more resource such as extra street cleaners and additional police officers but we also improved social services, parking, etc. This was the genius of not trying to do too much at once – at the time our opposition accused us of being un-ambitious. Ambition is good, delivery is better.

Now Labour talks about improving public services? Which ones? Just those delivered mainly by the council? Working better with partners? It is likely that under the new coalition government we are going to see a large scale de-centralisation of power from central to local government. Many of the council’s erstwhile partners may find themselves being handed over to the council wholesale in the years to come. Our new administration will have to discard many preconceived ideas and be very quick on its feet. The government will tend I am sure to hand on responsibilities with only a part of the money – the rest will be kept at the centre.

The securing jobs and homes priority sounds nice but is likely to be pie in the sky. The council will have little choice about shedding labour in the next few years and its influence on the wider jobs market is limited I would say. Homes? Even under Alistair Darling’s rather rosy economic assumptions we were looking at net investment halving – it will be worse than that and housing will suffer. Again more sacred cows will have to be sacrificed if the council is going to make progress on housing. The insourcing of the ALMO is not a good place to start. The previous administration had some very good people working on housing who moved at pace to progress the development of our high intervention estates. The council needs to keep up the pace with these and prove it is a capable partner.

6 replies on “New cabinet presented”

Lest anyone’s forgotten the leaflets distributed during the campaign here are the 5 ‘pledges’ Labour made.

1. Action on crime with more uniformed officers in your area and CCTV in crime hotspots.

2. A 24 hour hit squad of grimebusters to tackle litter, graffiti and dumped rubbish.

3. Keep council tax low with a freeze in the first year.

4. A new partnership with business and housing associations to create jobs and build 3,000 new affordable homes.

5. Invest in our local schools to improve standards and build quality new schools to give parents better choices.

1 is not very specific; 1,2, 4 and 5 will cost money and take some squaring with 3. And if you visit the forum on chiswickw4.com, you’ll see that Hounslow Labour party’s pledges are spookily similar.

Labour also made 5 specific pledges on crime:

1. A shift in priorities for CCTV away from parking enforcement and towards combating crime.

2. Better street lighting on roads near busy public transport stops and stations to ensure people can feel safe walking home safe late at night.

3. Proper funding for community groups who work to combat domestic violence.

4. Tackle chaotic families who wreck our local communities through family intervention projects to bring peace and quiet back to our streets.

5. Transform Youth Clubs and invest in young people to get them off and into sport, social and creative activities, and give them the skills for the future.

Re 1, Interesting to see which cameras are taken away from parking enforcement (the vans that visit schools at opening and closing times? bus lanes – how long before motorists work that out?)

2-5 are all nice but vague. Still, you can have some fun holding them to account for these promises.

why are there more shadow cab members than actual cab members? and more importantly, why are you and Cllr Emment not one of them?

Jamie,

Julian Bell is leader but also taking regeneration under his wing. The shadow cabinet has a leader and Mark Reen is doing regeneration. As well as Sue I am not on the shadow cabinet. We are both leading scrutiny panels – it is right that we give new people a chance to shine. Cllrs Costello (Housing), Stafford (Adults and Health), Cowing (Community Safety) and Chapman (Customer and Community Services) will all I suspect be very able (constructive) critics of the administration.

Phil

What a huge number of Committees. Is that normal or necessary in these economic times?

Can’t see your name. Which Scrutiny panel will you be on, and are we to expect to see the panel appointments being recorded?

Thanks

I would like to add another point to your list of predictions about what will happen in Ealing under the new administration. That is the decline of customer care and services in all areas. Today at Ealing dump in Greenford I witnessed a contractor trying to prevent someone who I believe to be disabled from throwing away domestic DIY rubbish while swearing at them and obstructing them. Clearly, Ealing’s new Labour administration is being seen as an excuse by the council contractors as carte blanche to go back to their old ways. No doubt we will see many of the same old face back in secure employment at Ealing Council/ Clearly the good Conservative days when the public servants helped the residents at the dump are gone!. Vive l’egalite!

I know that I shall miss the Conservative Ealing.

With Love,
Maxine.

Dearest Phil,

I know that as an “Officer of the Council” you are constrained by what you can say on your blog, so please could you edit my previous comment so that it is politically correct enough to appear. I think that Ealing residents need to know that the Labour rot is already setting in.

By the way I am very pleased with your Bond Street re-modelling. It organizes the parking well while creating a much more pleasant experience for the pedestrians. I suspended judgement on the project until it was finished and tried to ignore the nay-sayers and the outcome has been pleasing.

I am worried about the way the the council will be run, in particular the five million pounds that was found to refurbish Gunnersbury Park which I hope that you will not allow to disappear into some Labour black hole.

With love,

Maxine

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