Friday 22 January 2010

Lynne Hillans biggest Porkie

This article, on the front page of the press finishes with a statement from Lynne Hillan :- "This has no effect on council tax because it's nothing to do with the revenue budget"  - When the Tories took power in Barnet, they put Council tax up by 24%. The reason? Because they said there was a £10 hole in the reserves. Was a £10 million "hole in the reserves" anything to do with the revenue budget? Last time there was a supposed £10 Million hole in the reserves, the Tories put up council tax by 24%. They won't this year because it's an election year and Hillan would rather slash and burn than tell us the truth and plug the hole.  Victor Lyon was the Tory leader who enacted the 24% rise, he claimed at the time that it would be a one off. He claimed that the Tories would transform the Tories into a "low tax council". In 2008 the Hendon Times reported that 5 years of Tory rule had resulted in 44% rises.
However much Council Leader Lynne Hillan bleats, the truth is that in 2003 when the Tories took power the London Borough of Barnet had a lower Council tax than the London Borough of Brent.

Brent Council - Council Tax - Band D 2003/4 - £1075.05
Barnet Council - Council Tax - Band D 2003/4 - £796.89

Brent Council - Council Tax - Band D 2003/4 - £1368.76
Barnet Council - Council Tax - Band D 2003/4 - £1423.02

You may also be interested to know that Barnet Council Tax is now above the national average (£1414). Brent is lower. So you may ask. What is the difference between the administration in Brent and the administration in Barnet. Well as a Lib Dem, I'd like to point out that a Lib Dem Council has kept tax down in Brent. If Barnet had the same Council tax increase as Brent over the period (27%), we'd all be paying £1012.05 per annum - over £400 less.

Can I tell you why Brent has done so much better than Barnet? Because the Councillors running Brent Council do their job properly. Brent Council used to be so badly run that it was nicknamed "Bent Council" by Private Eye. Sadly now it's Barnet which has become a "Barmy Council". Who pays for this extravagance? You and me, my friend.

They ask questions when Council officers demand more money. They understand the fact that if you lose £9 million, it has to be paid for out of your tax. I daresay that a Barnet Conservatives will come up with all manner of excuses when asked about this, but at the end of the day you are paying over £400 a year more than you should. That is the bottom line. That is a difficult fact that the Tories running Barnet do not want you to know.


Don't Call Me Dave said...


Lynne Hillan’s comment is fundamentally dishonest. If you read the budget headlines report, the council readily acknowledges that it budgets for investment income each year to pay for day-to-day expenditure.

With the Icelandic money “frozen” there has been a sharp drop in the amount of interest received (quite separate from the fall in interest rates). To say that this has had no effect on council tax is manifestly wrong - the council has been forced into making budget cuts in order to keep the council tax the same. Had we received the interest from Iceland, then the council could have maintained front line services and reduced council tax as many other Tory councils have done.

Anonymous said...

I just can't imagine how frustrating and furious those intelligent and thoughtful Conservative Councillors must feel reading these lines. I guess, David Milliband and Jack Straw do.

The Council's Cabinet, in my view, due in large part to a lazy and laid back attitude together with a 'casino banker' approach to public funds by the Leader at the time, got caught out and made a huge mistake.

One really has to wonder whether Hillan / Howard used to have the same attitude to her company's financial affairs.

Unfortunately, unlike in company law, Council's aren't able to declare bankruptcy one day and appear miraculously a moment later with a fresh organisations, debts cleared.

Anonymous said...

UPDATE: It looks like the secret behind your favourite Council, Brent's low Council Tax is..... Cllr Bob Blackman, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resource (Conservative)...

Rog T said...


I'm sure that Bob Blackman deserves some credit for the lowering of the taxes. It would be hard to find a worse Tory than those running Barnet. If the Tories need to be junior partners to actually deliver that surely says something. I suspect that what Brent proves is that if you have a failing council, change is a good thing.

That is the lesson for Barnet voters. It is then up to the parties to make the new administration work.