Savings of 7.1 percent per year for the next 4 years to be exact, a massive hit to available funding for our Borough and the schemes that the council has to administer to provide the services that we need.
What will be affected?
Changes to welfare and benefits will hit hard for traditional families, and for those working but on low wages.
The Police budget will be slashed, despite the increased threat of violent crime in the area as seen in our local press over the last few months, whilst cuts to our Armed Forces and transport infrastructure will pile pressure on already overstretched services.
There is supposedly a ‘bonfire of the quangos’ to be instigated, but it remains to be seen which agencies will be affected, and if they are actually going to be cut or their staff simply re-allocated to larger ‘super quangos’ with increased powers.
Council leader Ray Puddifoot has frequently stated how under the stewardship of the current cabinet, efficiency savings have already been made that will protect Hillingdon from the worst of the cuts.
How much we can totally believe his claims, after his previous statement that there was no need for job cuts at the council, which has now been revised to fewer cuts than other boroughs, remains to be seen.
After all, the current cabinet oversaw the loss of £20 million worth of taxpayers funds in a failed Icelandic bank, money that would be quite handy at the moment.
Whose jobs should be at risk?
My big worry about the cuts is that they will be overseen by the very people whose jobs SHOULD be at risk – The pen pushers and bureaucrats who cost us a fortune and achieve very little.
These cuts should be overseen by an independent body, with no political affiliation, but with a background in turning failed companies around – After all, what is Hillingdon Council but a company that looks after it’s customers, the residents of Hillingdon?
We pay their wages through our taxes, in the same way that a private company pays the bills by providing services that their customers pay for – The only difference being that in the private sector, there is no obligation to spend and companies that don’t provide a decent service go out of business.
The council website now has a wonderful section on it called ‘over 500’ where the local community can see how purchases over £500 have been made by the local authority.
It is incredible to see how some of these purchases are disguised under various headings, with quite vague descriptions of what the purchases relate to – A bit of on line digging can reveal a multitude of sins. Here is my idea of how some of the money that the council needs to save could be done, without hitting frontline services, from this list.
The ‘over £500 ‘list
Consultancies – I have already stated that I would like an independent consultant to look at the cuts that are coming, but the amount of consultancies employed by the Borough on the list already is astounding!
A recruitment consultants, Gatenby Sanderson, has had two payments of £18700 and £7220 for ‘advertising appointments’ – Thought we were cutting jobs, not recruiting more staff?
Bevan Britton have been paid £12635 in consultancy fees for ‘commercially astute legal advice’ according to their website – Amongst our 68 councillors in Hillingdon, do we not have any with a commercial legal background who could give advice from their own personal repertoire, and who are paid by the council already?
Redquadrant are a company who give advice on restructuring libraries, and have had payments of £12100 and £11000 in September.
Housemark, who have an amount of £9952.88 showing as ‘subscriptions’, are social housing consultants, whilst Tapir Solutions give on line advice and have been paid £9600 in ‘consultancy fees’.
Subsiding Political Correctness
Paradigm Housing are the reconstituted remnants of Connaught PLC, and have been paid £184,000 for affordable housing by the borough in September. Fair enough, you may think – But proudly displayed on their website is their commitment to organisations such as ‘Stonewall’, a militant gay rights group, and ‘Happy to Translate’, an organisation that promotes the use of costly translators to help people who can’t speak English to be able to have access to public services.
The UNISON trade union has been awarded £12452.96 , and gets regular monthly contributions.
Aik Saath has been awarded £17,000 in ‘grants’ – They are an organisation that specialises in conflict resolution between young members of the Asian community, whilst £9000 has been given to the ‘HillingdonAlbanian Speaking Community’ as a grant,and another £9000 has been given to the ‘West London Somaliland Community’, also as a grant.
£6635 was also paid to Chessington World of Adventures for ‘Childrens Activities’
Such politically correct payments are not only a drain on the public purse, but actually have the opposite effect to that intended. Rather than promoting community relations, these grants encourage segregation and, in the case of payments for translators, actively encourage newcomers to keep to their own community and act as a drain on resources.
I am completely against these payments by the council to minority interests on two accounts.
Firstly, to promote a feeling of belonging to your area, everyone should be treated equally, irrespective of the colour of their skin or their religion. To put money in to one sector of our society at the expense of another does not promote this – Strangely enough, the people who promote this positive discrimination are in many cases the same politicians who screamed loudly twenty years ago about the inequalities of Apartheid in South Africa, yet now promote the same policies against the indigenous people of England!
Secondly, by cutting services to the majority of the local population whilst channeling funds in to politically correct causes, Hillingdon Council fuel resentment against newcomers to our community and give ammunition to far right groups such as the BNP and National Front – A real travesty, as the fault lies not with the immigrants but with the policy of local and national government who are promoting a two tier system of expenditure.
Cuts where cuts need to be made
I have stated above some of the cuts that really need to be made locally – Politically correct funding and unnecessary consultancies. Also, if we are ‘all in this together’, how about the councillors taking some of the pain and in the spirit of public service volunteering for a pay cut, in the same way that my English Democrat colleague Peter Davies did when becoming Mayor of Doncaster?
At a National level, I believe things are even more clear cut
* Withdrawal from the EU will save us £48 million PER DAY in contributions alone – When red tape and restrictive practices come in to it, then we are looking at nearly £50 Billion per year!
*Reform of the Barnett Formula – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland recieve massively more per head from the public purse for services – The field needs to be levelled (Saving English taxpayers billions annually)
* Charity begins at home – Stop the payment of our tax money in foreign aid to corrupt regimes overseas, and divert this funding to our schools, armed forces and OAP’s.
* Put an end to mass immigration. We have neither the housing, infrastructure or resources to look after the people who already reside in England – Time to take stock and stabilise our population, rather than adding more people to our already overcrowded island.
What is your view? Where should the cuts fall in Hillingdon? We want to hear your views!