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Ealing and Northfield Tram

No tram thanks

Ealing Times have just posted an article on the results of Ealing Southall Conservatives’ residents survey on their site. Over the last six months the local Conservatives have got responses from 2,500 residents of Northfield, Walpole and Elthorne wards. 78% did not want the West London Tram. 77% thought that the council was bad value for money.

I was one of the team who have spent most Saturday mornings for the last few months banging on doors. It was actually really good fun meeting local people and getting their views first hand.

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Ealing and Northfield

Ealing top for council tax

In the Telegraph today Philip Johnston says that average council taxes have almost doubled in England since Labour took office in 1997. Unfortunately Ealing is much worse than the average. In 1997/8 the Ealing Band D council tax was £585. Next financial year it will be £1,309. That is a 124% rise. By comparison pensions have only risen by 35% is the same period. In Ealing next year it will take 30% of a single person’s basic state pension to pay a Band D council tax.

In 1997/8 only six London councils out of 33 had lower council taxes than Ealing. Next year only 10 councils will be more expensive. Only one council has raised its council tax by more than Ealing and that is Kingston: theirs has gone up by 128%.

The figures that Johnston uses come from the ODPM statistical release of yesterday.

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Ealing and Northfield

Labour councillors in trouble

Ealing Times posted an article today covering problems with three different Labour councillors. One is ignoring the High Court, one is being investigated by the Standards Board and a third has been deselected in what looks like a mini putsch.

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Communications disease Ealing and Northfield Ex-Mayor Livingstone Policing

Met still over-claiming and under-delivering

I think that the Met may have some problems with the Advertising Standards Authority. In today’s Ealing & Acton Gazette there was an ad from Safer Ealing Partnership pointing to the Safer Neighbourhoods part of the Met Police website. There was also a full page Safer Neighbourhoods ad from the Met and the Mayor (part of a £300K campaign). Unfortunately the website shows 11 out of 23 wards without the promised teams of four. The Mayor and the Met have been quick to advertise these teams before they are in place (this is the 5th full page ad I have seen in the Gazette). They are not so quick to deliver the service. The Mayor is now taking 2.75 times as much from us compared to before he came to power. Shame he is not delivering the service promised. A commercial organisation would pretty quickly be told by the ASA that they should stop their adverts until the service was available as advertised.

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Ealing and Northfield

Councillor Sears retiring?

One of our Labour councillors, Stephen Sears, appeared in the Guardian today. In the article he is described as being “a former Ealing Labour councillor”. I did not know he was ex. Thought he was actually doing the job. Maybe he feels it is time to resign with the May local elections coming up and the strain of both being a councillor and a large scale supplier to the council has got a bit much.

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Ealing and Northfield

Ealing council failing to pursue litter bugs

Ealing Times is covering Ealing council’s inability to pursue those people given fixed penalty notices for littering. Apparently only 182 of the 904 that were issued to litter bugs in the borough last year were actually paid. What is more the council did not pursue any legal action against the people who failed to pay them.

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Ealing and Northfield

£50 litter bin fine – who is fibbing?

Andrew Tierney made it onto the front page of the Sun this morning claiming to have been fined £50 for simply taking some junk mail off his postman and chucking it in a litter bin. The council concerned, Hinckley and Bosworth, fielded their chief exec on the Today programme to accuse Tierney of putting all his household waste in the litter bin of which the junk mail was only an incidental part.

There are two possible explanations, both of which I can believe:

  • Tierney is a liar who uses the street litter bins instead of keeping a refuse bin on his property
  • the council is lazy about accusing people of misdemeanours on the basis of finding addressed mail in their litter bins without ensuring that it is a real case of dumping – it cannot be hard to distinguish a carrier bag full of household waste stuffed into a litter bin rather than a couple of letters chucked in on the way to work.

I don’t know who to believe but I guess that the papers will have more fun with this tomorrow and maybe the truth will come out.

In Ealing, especially along South Ealing Road towards the tube station, I have often seen people using the litter bins for their own convenience as they leave their homes to go to work. It is hard enough to get kids to use litter bins without householders who are too selfish or lazy to maintain their own refuse bins filling them up with carrier bags stuffed with household waste. Councils are right to go after these people. But, as with any enforcement activity, it is not acceptable for councils to merely beat up the law abiding citizen with penalty notices on the basis of their address turning up in a litter bin. There needs to be proper evidence of wrongdoing otherwise it is just another dumb tax.

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Ealing and Northfield

Ealing needs to look east

During February the three councils to the east of us have made promises to control the rise in council taxes. The promises are:

It would be good to hear such a promise from Ealing.

Comparing Labour Ealing’s Band D council tax with the Conservative Boroughs to the east of us will make you green with envy:

  • Ealing £1,309
  • Kensington and Chelsea £982
  • Westminster £659

Funnily enough Labour Hammersmith and Fulham, one of the councils most likely to be turned over by the conservatives in May, has not yet published its bands only their overall rise excluding the rise in the GLA precept. This is because they know that Ken Livingstone’s 13.3% GLA precept rise will do for them.

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Ealing and Northfield Ex-Mayor Livingstone

Glenda sticks the boot in

This morning on the Today programme Glenda Jackson dubbed the Jowellgate affair as “somewhat farcial”. The Today programme’s interviews with Jackson and then Margaret Beckett, supporting Jowell, are covered here. Although Jackson is running scared that Jowell is not going to be able to do a good job of running the Labour local election campaign across London I am not so sure.

She seems to be doing a great job of marshalling all of the organs of the State to press Labour’s case. Ealing’s expensive Around Ealing magazine arrived today with a 2-page spread on Safer Neighbourhoods. The Londoner did a front page in its most recent edition. The Met are spending hundreds of thousands on advertising Safer Neighbourhoods, although they will not say how much. In Ravenscourt Park last week I saw a Labour party election leaflet leading on Safer Neighbourhoods. It looks to me that Jowell is doing a fab job of co-ordinating the party locally to work with the Met, Labour councils and the Mayor to run a brutally effective campaign.

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Ealing and Northfield

Rises multiply, they don’t add up

Tim Simpson writing in the Ealing & Acton Gazette today showed his lack of mathematics. He pointed out that the last five rises in council tax added up to 49.7%. His calculation was 4.7% + 4.9% + 6.8% + 25.9% + 7.4% = 49.7%. With a bit more attention in maths classes he would have known that percentages need to be multiplied, not added. The correct calculation would have been 1 * 1.047 * 1.049 * 1.068 * 1.259 * 1.074 = 1.586 or 58.6%.