Below is a letter I submitted to The Gazette regarding a story that has been running about the local council magazine. Because I am now running as a candidate in the Charville by-election, it cannot be published because of rules around campaigning so I reproduce here as an example of the council waste that I will be campaigning to address
I read with interest the ongoing story in the Gazette regarding the council’s Hillingdon People magazine (Council set to defy magazine warning, 15/10/2104)
Prior to this year’s local elections, we submitted a Freedom of Information request to the council concerning the cost to local taxpayers of the publication, and were advised that excluding staff working on the magazine as part of their wider functions (Who are therefore still being paid by Hillingdon residents on top) it came to £92,517 in the financial year 2012-2013.
This year it is likely to be considerably more as special ward editions were also printed and distributed just before the election expenses period kicked in.
So, what are we getting for our money?
In the July/August edition, there were 20 mentions of Conservative councillors highlighted in bold across the 35 pages telling us all what a good job they are doing, compared to just eight for community leaders and members of the public. There were no mentions for any of the opposition councillors who represent the remainder of the borough or update of the work they are doing in their wards.
It would appear that Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, could have been thinking of Hillingdon when he coined the term ‘Town Hall Pravda’. Interesting too that when the Conservatives took control of the council all those years ago, they did so on a policy of scrapping the paper – In power, they have expanded it.
UKIP policy in Hillingdon is to do away with this unnecessary waste of taxpayers money.
The information could be put out via increased interaction and co-operation with local press and on line news services, plus on a ward basis we would encourage councillors to communicate more with their constituents via ward bulletins paid for out of their not ungenerous allowances
Former independent councillor, previously Conservative Councillor, Andrew Retter –
“As an independent, I can support whichever candidate I feel will do the best job for the local community. I am happy to endorse and help Cliff Dixon in the Charville ward by-election as I feel sure he will be the most effective councillor if elected”
It’s Hillingdon chairman, Cliff Dixon, will enter what could be a very close scrap. There were only 14 votes between the third and fourth placed candidates in the three-seat ward at the local elections in May, when Mr Dixon came sixth, with 1,004 votes.
He hopes UKIP victories since then will help tip the balance.
“In the words of our newly elected UKIP MP, Douglas Carswell, it is time for change,” he said, “a change that we won’t see from the old establishment parties. If you believe that Hayes and our country have a future that can be brighter than its past, please consider voting for UKIP in this election and making a real difference.”
A lifelong resident of the borough, Mr Dixon, who works in the mobile telecommunications business and is married with two adult stepchildren, said: “I will be campaigning on the issues that have been communicated to me on the doorstep that the establishment party representatives have not been able to satisfactorily address and are obviously of concern to residents.”
He named, among others, allocation of social housing, with priority given to those with local links; additional resources for local policing, deterring crime rather than investigating it afterwards; and pushing to re-establish a grammar school locally.
The by-election will be on Thursday, November 27, brought about by the resignation last week of Labour member, Councillor David Horne, pictured below, on the grounds of ill health.
Former Mayor of Hillingdon, Mary O’Connor, will represent the Conservatives in a ward where she was narrowly squeezed out in May.
Labour is expected to name its candidate this week, and other party candidates in due course.