|Stephen Greenhalgh to Become "Champion" for White City|
H&F Council Leader to take on new role in deprived estate
Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh, who announced yesterday he is stepping down from his role, is to become a "champion" for the deprived White City Estate.
In his new role, he is helping to pioneer plans for what is being called a Neighbourhood Budget for the White City Opportunity Area.
H & F Council says that nearly £70 million of taxpayers’ funds – or £17,000 per household – is spent in this area every year. Despite this, unemployment is twice the borough average, the area has high levels of overcrowding, relatively low educational attainment and relatively high levels of crime.
Now H&F wants to pool central and local government's spending into a single budget pot, involve residents far more in how that money is spent and ensure that the money is focused on improving the life chances of the people living there.
Mr Greenhalgh, who has been Leader of the Council for five years says: " I am keen to work with Whitehall and the town hall to develop a new approach to public spending at a neighbourhood level while continuing to serve the residents of Town Ward where I both live and work.
" I do not think the people of White City are getting value for money out of that £70 million, nor do I think are wider taxpayers. I want to focus that money on getting much better outcomes for people living there and ensuring that the neighbourhood is fully involved in how that money is spent."
Mr Greenhalgh's announcement that he was stepping down surprised many onlookers. He said: "Being leader of the council is a remarkable challenge which I have been thrilled to have taken on. I am immensely grateful for the energy and professionalism of my fellow councillors and staff in making possible such a radical transformation of the council over the last five years.
"We can be so proud of what we have achieved in becoming such an influential, trail blazing council. From cutting tax to paying off debt, to widening choice in schools and housing, from fighting crime to a cleaner environment we have blazed the trail."
Prime Minister David Cameron said: " Stephen Greenhalgh has demonstrated that good management and tackling waste can keep council tax bills down whilst protecting services. Conservative group leaders all over the country are emulating what Stephen has done in Hammersmith and Fulham, which is why people in those areas with Conservative councils on average pay lower council tax whilst enjoying better services."
December 13, 2011