Hounslow Conservatives plan to restore proper financial control to Hounslow Council in place of the chaotic mismanagement presided over by Labour. In 2017/18 the Council overspent by £7m. Much more than the sum raised by this year’s council tax increase.
Since 2012 Labour run Hounslow has neither employed a Financial Director nor had a Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee to provide proper oversight of the activities of Lead Members and Senior Officers. Under such a weak regime it has become increasingly likely that promised savings will not be achieved and that capital projects will not be delivered on time and to budget. This has led directly to the need to increase Council Tax by 4% a year.
Specific pledges include:
- Appointment of a Financial Director and re-establishment of a Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee. Residents deserve to have their tax pounds looked after and spent wisely. Like any organisation, Hounslow Council needs both financial oversight and independent scrutiny. The Conservatives would appoint an experienced Financial Director and revive the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee.
- End “white elephant” schemes. Labour has wasted £28 million on a white elephant recycling centre delivered late and with huge cost overruns. The Conservatives would end the Lampton 360 “white elephant” and bring value back to residents.
- Open government and an end to off balance sheet accounting through secretive private companies. The Council must be accountable to residents, but Labour has established a group of off-balance-sheet private companies into which millions of pounds have been pumped without any return. Residents cannot inspect the finances of these companies, and their employees have worse pay and benefits than their colleagues working directly for the Council. Conservatives are committed to transparent and open government for all aspects of Hounslow Council.
- Compulsory competitive tendering. Conservatives would enforce competitive tendering for all contracts with Hounslow Council. We would stop Labour’s practice of managing outsourced contracts badly and then bringing these services inhouse with little or no competitive tendering or market testing.
- Low Council Tax. Conservatives are committed to keeping Council Tax as low as possible by delivering agreed savings in full and on time and by pursuing strict financial management. For the 2018/19 financial year, the Conservatives proposed a 0% increase to the council tax in contrast the 4% increase that Labour forced through.
“Labour plead that they have been forced to degrade services because of Government cuts; the reality is that they have lost control of their own budgets and have overspent on pet schemes,” explains Sam Hearn, Conservative Group Leader on Hounslow Council. “We need to restore professional financial management, deliver savings and free up cash for vital services.”