Congratulations to my neighbouring borough of Hounslow for freezing their Council Tax for the fourth year in a row. This year Council Tax freezes in London will be rather fashionable – cynical types might think this could be linked to elections taking place. But Hounslow was doing it before it became trendy. Four years ago under Labour Hounslow had the fifth highest Council Tax in London of the 32 boroughs – they are now at 15th.
Their latest budget includes a saving of £120,000 in the budget for Temporary Accommodation staff because of the Council's success in reducing the number of households in temporary accommodation. There is a £30,000 saving on the Council's Courier Service for internal mail reflecting the increased use of email. The service may be abolished and any unavoidable mail sent by the normal postal service. As well as saving money this would reduce vehicle emissions from having vans driving around Council offices delivering memos. There are savings of £838,000 in the contract to John Laing Integrated Services to run their libraries for them. £433,000 is being saved through staff reductions in the Corporate Services Department.
What is all the more impressive is that the Conservatives don't have an overall majority on the Council – relying on a coalition with residents groups.