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News and Comment February 2011

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10 February - London councils promise to freeze council tax. Bexley holds back

One thing that puts Bexley among the very worst councils in London and goes a long way towards proving it, is the fact that 24 years ago their rates, as they were then called, were third lowest in London and now they are almost the highest. Last year 25 London boroughs froze the tax, four cut it and four raised it. I don’t have to tell you which group Bexley was in. A fundamentally lazy and anti-democratic state of mind infests Bexley and the inefficiency pushes it inexorably to the top of the taxation league. What else can explain the steady deterioration over a quarter of a century under governments of every colour? The latest press reports say that once again it is Bexley (and Wandsworth) which is not yet in a position to guarantee a freeze for 2011. The other 31 boroughs have done so; Wandsworth will probably reduce taxation, they did last year.

Apart from enriching themselves what are our councillors and their top managers doing? I have been talking to people in Newham and Waltham Forest this week and they don’t have to pay for old furniture and domestic appliances to be taken away and I heard a story about a parking ticket being cancelled in circumstances I cannot believe would happen under Craske’s evil regime - someone was delayed while consulting an undertaker - yet their council taxes are lower. Newham has frozen council tax for three years in a row. For Bexley to perform badly so consistently and for so long it can only mean massive inefficiencies - so why are they now cutting front line services when there has to be a huge amount of fat in the system?


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