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Ealing and Northfield

The council really cannot be that inefficient can it?

Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, Labour’s Transport and Environment man, often makes statements that defy reality. Today’s is another. In response to my suggestion that the council is taking liberties with CPZ charges Mahfouz says:

Our figures show that, even when taking into account the most recent increase, the cost of administering residential parking is still more that the income generated. The difference is subsidised by council tax payers, many of whom don’t even own a car or live in a CPZ.

This is quite unbelievable. Can the council really be that inefficient? When it charges £80 or £50 for a parking permit does that activity really consume all of that cash? When you have to keep £30 worth of 60p visitor’s vouchers in a drawer in case a tradesman calls the council isn’t making any money out of that? The £4.50 paid for a daily voucher really just disappears in a puff of smoke as soon as it reaches the council’s grasp? The permits have doubled in price. Some of the vouchers have gone up by 350%. Meanwhile the council’s costs have gone down. They withdrew costly face-to-face transactions in February. The CEOs now enforce CPZs on motorbikes. The new phone service saves money and offloads the payment charge on to the customer. The vouchers have been standardised saving inventory and admin costs. I could go on.

There are three possible explanations for Mahfouz’s statement:

– Cllr Mahfouz is telling a lie
– Cllr Mahfouz really doesn’t understand the numbers and is just talking nonsense
– the council is so wasteful that that the £3.24 million a year it collects from CPZs is all used up on operational costs.

I have asked that these numbers are laid out in detail at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee so that Mahfouz’s silly assertion can be tested. Note that Mahfouz chooses not to back up his argument with any numbers. He is talking nonsense.