The council which has cut tax faster than any other in Britain has appointed Cllr Nicholas Botterill as its new Leader.
Cllr Botterill, was named Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council at a Full Council meeting last night. He succeeds Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, who has been proposed by Boris Johnson to be London’s new deputy mayor for policing.
Flagship authority H&F became renowned over recent years for providing the best possible services while relentlessly cutting costs. Council tax has been cut by 3% or more in five years out of six – including the biggest cut in the country (3.75%) this year.
Local residents are enjoying excellent services, with residents’ satisfaction at an all time high (75%), and the authority was officially judged UK ‘Council of the Year’ by the LGC (Local Government Chronicle) in 2010.
Cllr Botterill said:
“It is an honour and a privilege to become the Leader of one of the best councils in Britain. Providing the very best possible services at the lowest possible cost is what drives this council and this will not change.
“There will be no let-up in our zero-tolerance approach to cracking down on crime and we will continue to fund the police so that they can deploy extra officers onto our streets. We have some of the cleanest streets in London, six of our parks have prestigious Green Flag awards for their quality and more parents are sending their children to local schools than ever before.
“Ensuring that these services are maintained and, where possible, improved while keeping overheads at a minimum will be at the heart of this administration.
“H&F taxpayers now pay the third lowest council tax in Britain while millions of pounds have been freed up for frontline services as debt interest repayments to the banks has been slashed thanks to a dramatic reduction in the town hall’s debt burden.
“While H&F has a strong track record as a trail-blazing council there is more to do and connecting with residents and listening and learning to find the areas where we can improve will also play a valuable role.”
98 per cent of the borough’s streets are cleaned to the Keep Britain Tidy Standard and children’s services have been rated by Ofsted as ‘excellent’.
The council has also helped 700 families into home ownership, kept all its libraries open and maintained weekly, or even twice-weekly, refuse collections. It is also one of just two councils in London offering
homecare to people in the ‘greater moderate’ as well as ‘substantial’ or ‘critical’ banding.
The council has also combined some services and management costs with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council in order to save £40million a year across the three areas by 2015/16.
Cllr Nicholas Botterill has lived in the borough for more than 25 years, and has served as a councillor since 1996. He has appointed the following members to serve in his cabinet:
Cllr Greg Smith - deputy leader and cabinet member for residents’ services
Cllr Marcus Ginn - cabinet member for community care
Cllr Helen Binmore - cabinet member for children's services
Cllr Mark Loveday - chief whip
Cllr Andrew Johnson - cabinet member for housing
Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler - cabinet member for transport and technical services.
Cllr Botterill will also hold responsibility for cabinet member for regeneration, asset management and IT.