Last week the Conservative Group on Tower Hamlets Council proposed an alternative budget whoch would have reduced the Council tax by 5.75 per cent.

Although the budget amendment was rejected by the assorted left-wing (Labour, Respect, Lib Dems and “Independents” who are ex-Labour/ex-Respect) it offers residents a credible, costed alternative to the current Town Hall profligacy.

Cllr David Snowdon, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, says:

Every February, council up and down the country set their budget and council tax for the coming year. Conservative Home has a great record for holding Conservative groups up and down the country to account – naming and shaming those who seek to raise tax; whilst praising those who bring tax down.

For those Conservatives in administration, such as in Hammersmith and Fulham, these tax cuts are a real benefit to local residents. Despite the opposition of some on the left to tax cuts, everybody knows that council tax is one of the most regressive taxes, hitting the poorest people hardest.

So I am delighted that Tower Hamlets Conservatives have been able to propose a cut of 5.75 per cent for 2014/15 – worth £50.92 to a band D taxpayer. Of course, this was roundly defeated by Labour and Independent councillors, but the fact we were able to find over £3.5 million of wasteful spending is a sure sign that when the left bleats about “Tory Cuts” there is fat left in this council to be trimmed.

Among the wasteful spending we proposed cutting was:

  • £875,000 for repairing and upgrading of faith buildings. Many recipients of previous batches of this money were sitting on thousands of pounds of their own money!
  • £776,000 on teaching “mother tongue” classes to second and third generation immigrants
  • £500,000 on the Mayor’s private office, currently spent on a small army of spin doctors and advisers
  • £250,000 on full-time union officials
  • £247,000 on non-statutory translation
  • £126,000 on councillor pensions
  • £118,000 on hiring external venues
  • £42,000 on the Mayor’s chauffeur driven car

The reality is this waste represents the tip of the iceberg of what is possible – Tower Hamlets is a council with its head in the sand, ripe for the reforms that other councils have begun introducing over the last few years.

We can only hope that the residents of this borough see sense come the local elections this May.