LAST year I spoke of the sheer arrogance of the Conservative administration in setting the council’s budget.
This year proved another Groundhog Day; yet more backslapping and more applauding of slash and burn polices.
Little attention was paid to residents’ needs and the drastic effect this Conservative budget will have on your services. Do forgive me if you feel you have heard this before, but I’m afraid under a Tory council this message will be heard again and again.
Labour knows you do not want to see day services reduced. We know you do not want to see transport provision reduced. We know you are concerned about your children’s educational attainment. We know you are concerned about Hillingdon’s growing problem regarding “sheds with beds”.
If we know your concerns, surely it is only rational to expect the council to know them?
Let’s take a moment to consider what this Conservative budget delivered for you.
The council has committed to closing Woodside, Phoenix and Parkview day centres, and in the case of Phoenix, selling the land it sits on to private property developers. These services will be permanently lost.
The council is cutting transport provision for the disabled; apparently transport costs can be met through the mobility component – as low as £19.55 per week. Is this fair?
In our schools, the council has removed the ring fencing of the early intervention grant which will specifically hit targeted mental health services. They should be looking at ways of using the £96k underspend, not passing it off as a saving.
Early intervention helps our children now and saves the council millions in the future. Our claim that Hillingdon needs dedicated planning enforcement officers to tackle beds in sheds was laughed out of council.
This issue is generating vast amounts of national attention, yet our council underfunds enforcement against this problem.
It is wrong to use the scarcity of public resources as an excuse to make sweeping cuts.
These are cuts and not savings. So here’s my suggestion for our esteemed leader: remove the politics, remove the ideology and start putting residents first.