After the announcement earlier this morning of a 3.75% Council Tax cut in Hammersmith and Fulham, comes another news item from my borough. The Council leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh has decided to stand down in six months time.
Stephen's achievements these past five years have been remarkable, proving to be important, not only locally, but as an example to others. But the role has been hugely demanding given that he also runs his own business and has a young family. He has set the council firmly on the right course.
The Prime Minister David Cameron says:
“Stephen Greenhalgh has demonstrated that good management and tackling waste can keep council tax bills down whilst protecting services. Conservative group leaders all over the country are emulating what Stephen has done in Hammersmith and Fulham, which is why people in those areas with Conservative councils on average pay lower council tax whilst enjoying better services.”
I am immensely grateful for the energy and professionalism of colleagues in making possible such a radical transformation of the council over the last five years. We can be so proud of what we have achieved in becoming such an influential, trail blazing council. From cutting tax to paying off debt, to widening choice in schools and housing, from fighting crime to a cleaner environment we have blazed the trail.
We have been the guiding star by which other councils seek to navigate. I am confident that our course is firmly established for the future.
Stephen confirms he will continue as a councillor:
I also hope to continue with a special project for the regeneration of White City to help make the aim of a Borough of Opportunity a reality. This is about my passionate belief in Iocalism which is more than local government power grabs. I am keen to see decentralisation from the town hall and Whitehall to the neighbourhood. That is what the proposed White City Challenge is all about. We need to ensure that we find ways to put local residents more in control and see greater integration of local public services which are focused on outcomes rather than process. I will also remain a ward councillor in Town Ward where l live and work AND have represented for 16 years!
Cllr Nick Botterill, Deputy Leader of H&F Council, said:
“I hope many people across H&F and beyond will want to thank Stephen for his tireless dedication to this borough and to local government. Thankfully, he will still continue to play a major role through his
work with the community in White City.
“It is extremely difficult simultaneously to cut taxes, improve services and reduce the debt burden and yet that is just what Stephen has done at H&F. He has lifted the spectre of debts from future generations of residents – there can be no higher accolade than that.”
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric
"Stephen has been an outstanding council leader. He always understood that the role of the council was to stand shoulder to shoulder with the public. People in Hammersmith & Fulham are getting a better service at a much cheaper price. Hammersmith and Fulham is truly a council to be proud of.”
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, declared:
"Stephen has made a fantastic contribution to local government over very many years."