Here are ten predictions for Ealing under Labour over the next four years:
- Ealingâ€™s streets will get visibly dirtier
Even with a Tory council that prioritised cleaning the biggest source of mess in our borough was the refuse and recycling workforce who are disinclined to clean up after themselves as they go. Labour will find it hard to cut the cleaning budget. They might try to take out the monitoring system introduced by the Tories. Their main failing will be that they fail to drive the contractor and its workforce to keep up to the mark. We will have dirtier streets without any significant savings.
- Recycling will go backwards
Under the Tories the boroughâ€™s residents doubled the recycling rate from 19% to 38%. Labour will have trouble even maintaining that achievement. Recycling costs money and this is an area where Labour will try to save money. The only way to make progress on recycling is to work on participation rates. This will require very expensive teams of people going from door-to-door. Labour will not be able to afford this additional cost.
- The vulnerable will suffer
Labour will speak the language of care whilst prioritising the needs of the â€œsystemâ€ above the needs of the end users. Care costs will increase but users will get a worse experience.
- The capital budget will get spent on too much rubbish
Labour will probably not be able to change the schools elements even if they wanted to but the Â£5 million for Gunnersbury Park will be toast and the road spending will disappear again. Somehow they will manage to still spend up on the capital account but it will be for stuff you didn’t know you wanted such as the Â£50 million Response programme which included the purchase of the freehold interest in Perceval House.
- Council house tenants will do worst
Council house tenants will see rents rise sharply and they will see estate regeneration schemes pushed into the future as Labour prevaricate. Maintenance will get worse as Labour again favour the deliverers of service rather than the end users.
- Council tax will rise by about 30%
Labour has committed not to raise council tax next year. They will achieve this but will hate making the hard decisions required to deliver it. The next year the council tax will rise by 15% as Labour calculate that this in the only year that can get away with it. In the third year it will rise by a â€œreasonableâ€ 7% and the same in the fourth year.
- There will be no progress in Acton
Acton Town Hall will effectively be mothballed. Acton Baths will continue its genteel decline. The library will get tarted up superficially but actual usage will decline.
- The north of the borough will be neglected
Over time the Northolt Leisure Centre and Good for Greenford will come to be seen as a flash in the pan. The councilâ€™s focus will return to Acton and Southall.
- Revenue from parking will double
The number of parking tickets issued will increase by half again. Under the Tories the number of tickets issued in Ealing was cut by about a third. All parking permits and car park charges will rise steeply. As an experiment all of Ealing’s Tory wards will be turned over to CPZs with the facility for anyone to pay a large charge to park. The Hammersmith & Fulham solution. The “experiment” will not be rolled out in Acton and Southall. Unfortunately costs will more than double so residents will pay more but their council tax will still go up by 30%.
- The ward forums will be scrapped
They will be replaced by area committees. The Labour councillors are typically not happy having to deal directly with residents as the ward forums require them to do. They will rush back to the relative safety of area committees. Instead of our senior officers doing their day jobs they will get distracted with writing reports and taking minutes for area committees. Southallâ€™s Labour councillors will push for this from day one and they will get their beloved Southall Area Committee before too long. The Southall councillors have never shone in council meetings and the Southall Area Committee gave them a chance to preen and bicker in front of a home crowd.