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News and Comment March 2012

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9 March (Part 1) - Where did it all go wrong?

Bexley TimesCongratulations to the Bexley Times, the only local newspaper that did not regurgitate council leader Teresa O’Neill’s lie that Bexley has the second lowest council tax in Outer London nor the propaganda that says that it has been frozen for the third consecutive year. It correctly says it is frozen for a second year and steers well clear of the lie by not mentioning it at all.

I’ve said before, I came to Bexley in 1987 in part to get away from the Loony Left that then controlled Greenwich council. I recall asking one of the Loonies who went by the name of John Austin, how much it had cost to festoon every alternate lamp post along the main thoroughfares with a slogan about Greenwich being a ‘Nuclear free borough’ and hearing, if I remember correctly, that £40,000 had been thrown down that particular drain. At the time, and again if memory serves, Bexley had the third lowest taxes in London and Bromley either lowest or next lowest, so the attraction of crossing the border was obvious. Both were Loony Left free zones. But before long Bexley began to raise its taxes every year by slightly more than the London average and the cumulative effect has been devastating. Twenty five years on Bexley has the 24th worst rate of taxation in London with a council still claiming to be among the very best.

Recently I began to doubt my recollections. Some research was called for. The rates from 25 years ago have proved elusive but below is the situation from 1991. (Numbers representing position in the ‘league table’.)

1. Wandsworth
2. Westminster
3. Merton
4. Bexley
5. Bromley
6. Croydon
7. Hillingdon
8. Barking and Dagenham 9. Redbridge
10. Lewisham
11. Tower Hamlets
12. Hammersmith & Fulham
13. Harrow
14. Enfield
15. Southwark
16. Barnet
17. Kingston upon Thames
18. Greenwich
19. Havering
20. Kensington & Chelsea
21. Sutton
22. Richmond upon Thames
23. Hounslow
24. Ealing
25. Waltham Forest
26. Newham
27. Brent
28. Islington
29. Hackney
30. Camden
31. Haringey
32. Lambeth

So it looks as though my memory is not so bad after all. Bexley was fourth best in London twenty years ago and second best in Outer London, beaten by Merton by only £1 a year. It would appear that successive councils have wasted vast sums and that our deluded leader is living in a 20 year old time warp.

In 1991 the ’rates’ were known as the Community Charge.

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