Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader Stephen Cowan has responded to the announcement by Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Councils that they intend formally to serve notice to pull out of the ‘tri-borough’ with H&F.
Cllr Stephen Cowan said:
“Hammersmith & Fulham aspires to be the best value, most effective council in the country – the best place for residents to live and businesses to prosper.
“We’ve built a reputation for improving services to residents while keeping tax low. While our neighbours in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Councils have increased council tax by two per cent and four per cent respectively, Hammersmith & Fulham is one of only a few councils in the country to freeze council tax.
“In fact, we’re the only London council to cut council tax this electoral term, the only council in the country to abolish charges for adult social care, and the only council to cut 85 per cent of all charges for our residents, including freezing parking permit charges for each of the last three years.”
Turning to the ‘tri-borough’, Cllr Cowan said:
“We’ve had concerns for some time about the value of the ‘tri-borough’, its lack of transparency and its built-in conflicts of interest.
“In our last two budgets, Hammersmith & Fulham Council found £31 million in savings but the ‘tri-borough’ contributed no more than £200,000 of that, less than one per cent.
“Problems with ‘tri-borough’ contracts, procured by Westminster City Council, have cost Hammersmith & Fulham over £5 million, including the botched contract for special needs transport that put our disabled children at risk.
“And senior ‘tri-borough’ officers have had to balance Hammersmith & Fulham’s determination to keep Charing Cross Hospital open with Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea’s support for closing it.”
“Triggering withdrawal is evidently a long-planned move by the two councils. I look forward to having sensible discussions with them about how we can all move on in the best way for our residents.”
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