super council is to be formed, sharing backroom operations for most of our key public services between H&F and our neighbours to the east K&C and Westminster. 700 jobs are set to be lost as part of the cost cutting and efficiency measures which mark the first of its kind in the UK - which for our council has become the norm, as Secretary of State Eric Pickles recently said on one of his many visits to Hammersmith just days ago.
H&F Council leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh promised to ‘squeeze every penny and every pound’ by looking at further savings in H&F and beyond in a bid to avoid reducing frontline services.
“We will do everything humanly possible to maintain the services we have,” he said. “However nobody should be under any illusions about the difficulty of the challenge ahead."
In a joint statement, Cllr Greenhalgh, along with Westminster Leader Cllr Colin Barrow and K&C Leader Cllr Merrick Cockell said: “We want to stress though that local priorities will still be driven by local people, and the democratic mandate rested in elected councillors such as ourselves, will be retained.
"Our plans may be the first of their kind, but sharing of services in this way can no longer be viewed as a radical concept. It will soon become the norm for local authorities looking for innovative ways to keep costs down while delivering high quality front line services."
H&F has already saved £55 million in the last four years. Based on current estimates, following last Wednesday’s Comprehensive Spending Review, H&F will need to save a further £65 million, although precise details will not be know until December or January. That will result in around 700 jobs going, although H&F says it will do everything possible to do this through natural wastage.
In the next financial year H&F is looking to save around £28 million.
More on this soon - but for the time being - wow.