The Ealing Labour group are engaged in a ludicrous attempt to brand the Ealing Tories as Ballsian spendaholics. They have just produced the silly graphic above and back in November they produced this press release.
In the twelve years Labour ran Ealing from 1994 to 2006 they increased Council Tax by a staggering 179% – 48% in their last four years from 2002 to 2006. The Tories on the other hand only raised it by 1.9% for two years and then froze it for two years, a cummulative rise of 3.8%. A Tory London mayor has frozen his share of council tax for four years. Last year the â€œTory-ledâ€ government gave Ealing Â£3.1 million a year to freeze the council tax again. The â€œTory-ledâ€ government is offering another deal this year if the Ealing Labour group decide to take it. The contrast could not be clearer.
It is worth noting that the Tories in Ealing also froze parking charges for four years. The first thing that Labour did when it got back into power was to raise them again. It is also planning big rises to parking charges in 2013 and 2014.
Labourâ€™s list of unfunded spending commitments shows two things. Firstly, how callous they are. In spite of warm words about protecting the vulnerable these are the people who have been affected most as Labourâ€™s own list demonstrates. Voluntary groups in particular have been badly hit.
Secondly, the list is typically slapdash. Yes, the Tories have complained about Labourâ€™s police cuts but they are not Â£750,000. This was the budget left AFTER Labour had cut Â£250,000 from the original Â£1 million budget. Thatâ€™s Â£500K saved straight away. Read the full story here.
It is not a case of the Tory group not accepting that cuts have to be made, although the Labour group have managed to turn Â£56 million of cuts to grants into Â£85 million by adding their own growth, inflation and the cost of borrowing to finance new council offices. We do think that the cuts could be made differently. At the end of November I asked the councilâ€™s chief executive how many changes had been made to staff terms and conditions. The answer was none. Simply bringing council Ts & Cs into line with private sector ones could save the council Â£30 million, see here.
The Ealing Tories do not deny that savings have to be made, we simply suggest that Labour are making the wrong choices. Rather than taking on producer interests and putting residents and service users first they are cutting the frontline, stiffing voluntary groups and ramping up charges.