ANOTHER example of the parsimonious attitude of Hounslow Council has just come to my attention.
For many years, pensioners were able to avail themselves of a free collection service for bulky household items not suitable for the weekly rubbish collection.
When I tried to arrange such a collection this week, I was told that this service was no longer free for pensioners, a charge of £25 having been introduced - although I don't recall seeing any notice of this (a stealth tax by Tories?).
This is yet another example of the way that pensioners in the borough are being penalised by the council with its mad fixation on maintaining the council tax at the same level from year to year.
We have already had the free transport to day care centres axed and now, I see, some day care centres are being threatened with closure.
Last week's Chronicle also reports the disaster of the meals-on-wheels service following the award of the contract to an outside provider.
Pensioners are obviously of no interest to the Tory council and can be sacrificed to suit their ends while, at the same time, there is always plenty of money for the increased allowances they have voted themselves.
I would be more than happy to see council tax rising in line with inflation if this resulted in the maintenance of services.
It seems, however, that the Tories will look for cuts anywhere to avoid this.
I have some good wheezes for them to consider before next year's budget calculations are finalised.
Firstly, they could withdraw from the London-wide Freedom Pass scheme and save a significant sum of money.
After all, it's only pensioners who enjoy the benefit (a thought here, they may not need to do this if Boris abolishes it anyway but, then again, neither he nor they will be able to because this is a statutory benefit introduced by a Labour Government!)
Secondly, they could close all baths and libraries and save enormous sums - only a minority, mainly pensioners, would be seriously affected.
Thirdly, they could turn over the maintenance of parks and open spaces to 'Friends' organisations, saving another huge sum, or even sell them off for housing development.
Fourthly, they could cease all maintenance of paths and pavements - or looking at the state of the borough's streets, have they done this already? I could go on...
And while I'm on the subject of 'savings', why was the decision taken to exclude the in-house team from bidding for the refuse collection service?
Surely, to consider bids only from the private sector rules out the possibility of a service cheaper than the private sector can offer.
I read that privatisation would result in an improvement to the service but I remember the debacle of the previous occasion when a private company had the job.
DEREK WHEATLEY Consort Mews, Isleworth.