With just over a week to go before the local elections the stakes could not be higher but you could be forgiven for not thinking so if you read all the glossy election leaflets being pumped out by the local Tories.
They are making promise after promise, spinning like tops while at the same time being totally deceitful and dishonest with the electorate.
Take for example what they have been saying (and not saying) about the downgrading of our local hospitals and the closure of our four A&Es. According to the Tories they have 'saved' Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es . The truth of course is very different. The Tories are closing Central Middlesex and Hammersmith A&Es as soon as the election is out of the way in June of this year and at some stage the bulldozers will then move into Ealing and Charing Cross as the Hospitals are radically downgraded, the A&Es closed and the surplus land sold off for luxury housing.
The new 'A&Es' built on a much smaller footprint at Ealing and Charing Cross will in reality be minor injury clinics, run by GPs not consultants and have no blue light ambulances bringing patients to them. Not A&Es at all and downright dangerous and irresponsible of the Tories to call them such when they are not.
What are the Tories saying about Ealing Council? Well first of all they don't say a word about the £87m cuts to our budgets their Government has inflicted on Ealing Council over the last 4 years. Also no mention of the £7m shortfall in Council Tax freeze subsidy their Government didn't give us or the £305m of Building Schools for the Future funding that they cut. Oh and surprise surprise they don't say a word about the next 100m of cuts the Tory led Government is visiting upon us in the next four years.
They are full of dishonest promises and with no financial plan to deliver them. They have been deliberately hiding the true cost of their undeliverable promises. Their manifesto offers only three options for financing the £100m cuts heading our way. A 25% cut to senior managers saving £2m; a 25% cut to consultants and interims saving only £0.5m and they claim business rates "will generate an additional £41m next year alone for use across the Borough." This last claim is ludicrous and just not true. If a crock of gold existed like this we would all be financially home and dry. This £41m is not additional income but part of the reducing budget we get from the government. The additional amount we actually get from business rates next year is negligible due to vacant premises and appeals.
So their big financial savings ideas add up to around £2.5m of the £100m plus needed. The Tories have a huge gaping black hole in their finances and yet they are promising the earth in a desperate attempt to be elected.
How much will their promises cost? Just one of them, the reintroduction of a free garden waste service will cost £5m over 4 years so how are they going to balance the Council's books? They have barely begun to explain where the £100m cuts are coming from. Their promises not to close Children's Centres or Libraries are not worth the paper they are written on. Their promise to spend £10m more than Labour on road resurfacing will mean they have that much less to spend on expanding our schools. Their promises are costly and are made by an incompetent, desperate and dishonest local Tory Party that can only make the budget balance by devastating cuts to services and closures of community facilities.
So if the Tories win control of Ealing Council on 22 May and they then go on to win the General Election in May 2015 as Ealing resident and former Labour Leader Neil Kinnock once said "I warn you not to be ordinary, I warn you not to be young, I warn you not to fall ill and I warn you not to grow old."
Vote Labour on 22 May to defend our community.