Lister on Putney
"The Putney MP is in no position to lecture anyone on council tax."
He loves telling us what a great job he did as leader of neighbouring Merton Council. Such a good job in fact that residents of that borough now pay a staggering £1,209 for a typical Band D property - more than double the £597 we pay in Wandsworth.
Now as an MP he has in the glorious position of the armchair football pundit who can do the manager's job better than any one else.
What he does
not tell us of course is that all councils in London are having to make
savings this year as the switch of Government funding to the north begins
to bite even more deeply.
The reason why in Wandsworth we have been able to avoid this level of panic is simple. We have always kept our spending under control. Not just in one year but over the last 25 years.
Of course it's easy to say we 'only needed to put up bills by two per cent' to meet the government's targets. But that's what Labour says every year.
A low council tax does not come overnight. It takes years of good housekeeping.
The long term pressures are enormous. Next year Wandsworth's government grant position will be even worse. And London is set to lose out badly in 2006 when homes throughout the country are revalued for council tax purposes.
That's why councils have to focus spending on those areas for which they are funded by central government. It's the reason why councils everywhere have had to reduce support for charities and other organisations.
Even so Wandsworth still spends more than £18m a year on the voluntary sector - supporting 200 groups.
In just about every other part of the country the council tax has become yet another Gordon Brown stealth tax. In Wandsworth we are still able to protect our residents from the worst excesses of government funding cuts.
Our Putney MP may be happy paying his sky-high Merton tax. But most people would rather know that they have a well-run local council which spends their money wisely and keeps their bills down - year after year.
Edward Lister is the Leader of Wandsworth Council and a member for Putney's Thamesfield ward.
March 26, 2004
Previous Lister Diaries
Modes of transport such as the new bus route and flight paths are all in .....Cllr Lister's Diary
"committed to keeping our bills as low as is sensibly possible"....Cllr Lister's Diary
There's not a council in the country that looks after its residents' money as carefully as Wandsworth........Cllr Lister's Diary
New school, new homes and a new-look park in 2003 ......Cllr Lister's New Year Message
A week of great achievements as both the Council and many of Putney's schools exceed in their individual grading systems. Whilst the failure of a resident management organisation (RMO) gives the Council concern.......Cllr Lister's Diary
Cllr Lister is not cheered by the Queens Speech nor the Chancellor's pre-budget statement..........Cllr Lister's Diary
Cllr Lister's Diary declares war on fly posters, and draws our attention to Connexions investment in Roehampton.
anti-third runway meeting bonfires and planning alert system.........Cllr Lister's Diary
Busy October 2002..........Cllr Lister's Diary .
Redevelopment of Roehampton Rec, the completion of Ashlone Wharf plus taking up the baton for a link between the Rail station & East Putney Tube........Cllr Lister's Diary .
Local impact of government housing policy, crime and news on Richmond Park...... Cllr Lister's Diary .
New Surgeries - a new ways to meet your councillor plus the Leader expresses his concerns over the news of gun crimes in Putney ..... Cllr Lister's Diary
Jubilee celebrations, the 3 star service offered by Social Services and name change for Lavatory Gardens ...Cllr Lister's Diary.
The state of the NHS in Putney and the fight against night flights ....Cllr Lister's Diary
Pedestrian safety - especially around schools and Neighbourhood watch .... Cllr Lister's diary
CAR TAX DODGERS DRYBURGH RD DEVELOPMENT ROBIN HOOD GATE AND NIGHT FLIGHTS..............Cllr Lister's diary
Church cheer, wharf worries and Richmond Park relief - Cllr Lister's diary.
Cllr Lister speaks against the Dryburgh Rd plans, the threat of closing Pen Ponds to traffic and litter.
The Postal Service, Richmond Park and Council Tax changes are all on Cllr Lister agenda.
Cllr Lister comments on the current planning furore, pigeon mess, cctv and policing.