Our national debt recently exceeded the £1.5 trillion mark – We spend more money in interest payments on the debt annually than we do on defence. Locally, our Conservative Council constantly tell you about their outstanding financial record in much the same way as their national party do at Westminster. ‘Council tax frozen’ is one of their favourite cries, neglecting to mention that Hillingdon levies one of the highest council tax bills in London already.
Their ‘financial prudence’ claims are further tested by the write off of £2.5 million of your money in 2011 in a failed Icelandic Bank, with millions still owing from Landsbanki and Heritable.
Front line staff in the housing and maintenance sections have been halved in number, resulting in overgrown roadsides, increasingly damaged roads and delays to council housing repairs.
Three centres for the disabled have been closed and prices for council run children’s day care centres have been set to increase 17% from 1st September
Meanwhile, senior council officials have seen handsome wage rises – Over 20 are paid £100k per year plus, with four officials (Including Deputy Chief Exec Jean Palmer, recent recipient of an OBE) paid more than Prime Minister David Cameron. (Source – The Taxpayers Alliance)
Councillors who stood down from office or were voted out in the 2014 local elections each got a pay off of £1622.11, costing the taxpayer over £30,000. Mary O’Connor, the former Conservative Mayor who lost two elections last year, has seen a new post of ‘Health, Wellbeing and Disabilities Champion’ created for her with the associated pay and perks despite having no mandate from the people of Hillingdon! It would appear cronyism trumps the wishes of the local electorate.
When challenged by UKIP’s Jack Duffin concerning the excessive spending on council self promotion via internet and the council magazine (Over £100k last year according to freedom of information requests) , Council leader Ray Puddifoot responded by stating that he had no control over police funding that we had suggested the money would be better spent on and accused UKIP locally of having ‘a lack of understanding’ of the realities. Yet his own local MP, Boris Johnson, had pledged when running for Mayor in 2012 that he would match spending by local authorities on additional officers via the GLA and claimed 12 councils (Including neighbouring Harrow) had taken him up on it. This suggests that Cllr Puddifoot himself does not understand the realities of what finances are available to him or is maybe being disingenuous to deflect criticism. Indeed, in his own party’s leaflets (Pictured below) that were distributed during the 2014 local elections, the Conservatives in Hillingdon were promising an additional Sergeant and 17 more officers if re-elected – How can they promise that if, as their leader states, they are ‘not responsible’ for policing budgets?
Furthermore, an enquiry from UKIP Hillingdon regarding allocation of social housing and housing benefit to non UK citizens was met with a response of, “Information not held”. With the lack of affordable housing in the borough a matter of record, doesn’t it strike you as odd that a ‘financially prudent’ council doesn’t know who it is allocating funds to, especially in light of their pledge to put local residents first in said allocations ?
UKIP would cut excessive executive pay and councillor’s ‘special allowances’, scrap the self promotion budget, oppose pay offs for failed councillors and get to grips with the bureaucracy to divert more funds to your front line services. We would also prioritise local families and those with family links to the area for social and affordable housing, ensuring your money is re-invested in our own community first.