Friday, 28 August 2009
Cameron disowns Freer’s plan to shaft Barnet residents!
The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph both report that Barnet Council has decided to adopt the business model of budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair. The proposal is to charge residents extra for improved services. Chief Executive Nick Walkley has described the policy as “easyCouncil”.
However, David Cameron's aides have disassociated themselves from Freer's proposals, which do not reflect national Conservative policy. A senior Tory source told the Telegraph: “This is not seen as a blueprint. Barnet have gone their way and that's fine but there is no wider significance as far as David is concerned.”
Modelling the council on easyJet is undoubtedly a very risky option. Whilst budget airlines are popular for their seemingly cheap no frills service, passengers are not stupid. Ryanair is as well known for all its “extra” charges as it is for its cheap tickets, and once you have added all those additional charges to the basic price, the ticket isn’t quite as cheap as you had first hoped.
Residents will undoubtedly be concerned that the council is proposing an 'easyJet' service but still charging a 'Concorde' rate of council tax. Before the coup which installed Freer as the unelected leader of the council, he repeatedly called for a zero increase in council tax, but once he got his hands on the reins of power, his demands were quietly forgotten. Indeed, this year the increase in council tax was substantially above the rate of inflation.
At the same time, Freer has overseen a massive hike in the allowances paid to councillors, with Barnet’s elected representatives now costing ratepayers more than £1 million a year, and chief officers also stuffing their boots to overflowing.
The Conservatives have no mandate to introduce 'easyCouncil' which seems to be nothing more than an elaborate publicity stunt by Freer to try and improve his chances at the General Election where he is standing for Margaret Thatcher’s old seat.
Without their consent, taxpayers have been charged hundreds of thousands of pounds on expensive consultants, but this is of no concern to Mike Freer. As with Leader Listens, the cost to taxpayers is entirely irrelevant. All that matters is the election of our glorious leader to his rightful place in Parliament.