Hounslow Council: Inefficiency, Overspending and Avoiding Public Scrutiny

Chiswick Gunnersbury Councillor Ron Mushiso reports on his week

Cllr Ron Mushiso outside Chiswick Library

January 21, 2023

From the LGC Award as the Council the year in 2021 to now the eighth most complained about local authority in England. How does that happen? It is simple. This Labour administration has abandoned its duties to serve the community. It seems to exist only to serve Sadiq Khan and TfL.

Last week, Cllr Gerald McGregor helped to publish my statement in his blog which was a response to the cancellation of a Chiswick Area Forum by the labour administration’s lead member for community engagement. It was due to take place on Tuesday 7 February 2023.

I have written to the lead member to formally protest this and explain that local democracy has been devalued. We should be having more community engagement, not less. There is no justification for reducing the area forums from bimonthly to quarterly. Community engagement matters: especially given the unrest about LTNs and the disruptions caused by the remedial patchwork on the poorly designed C9. Chiswick residents warned about this in consultations after consultation. The Labour administration then, as now, have chosen to listen to Sadiq Khan and TfL, but not the views of the community.

The findings by claims.co.uk are unrelated to C9 and LTNs. I can only imagine what the figures would be if these complaints were recorded in the same way.

These complaints are therefore just the tip of the iceberg. It is confirmation that the administration is inefficient, and it is getting things wrong. They got it wrong when they sided with Sadiq Khan and TfL above our community. They got it wrong when they burdened the three Chiswick wards with LTNs. They got it wrong when they gave their cabinet 56% pay rises in Special Responsibilities Allowances (SRA) while they put up Council taxes for everyone else.

Under this administration over the past 13 years, local democracy has diminished. In the last 4 years alone, they have avoided scrutiny on nine occasions by cancelling the Borough Council meetings, citing lack of council business. Council business should be to find efficiencies, improve services, and reduce the tax burden. There is no justification to cancel one of the only opportunities the Conservative Opposition has to hold them to account. If there is no business, it follows that there is no responsibility. Shouldn’t they return their SRA’s to help with the cost of living?

There is talk that the next Borough Council meeting, scheduled for later this month, will now be cancelled. Furthermore, the Lead Member for Finance will not come before the Chiswick Area Forum for his budget proposals to be scrutinised ahead of the Budget Setting Meeting on 28 February.

Instead, the Leader of the Council is softening us up for more council tax rises. He has reverted to his usual ‘Blame Central Government’ bandwagon, of which he is chief cheerleader. I have yet to see him standing up for residents against Mayor Khan’s costly ULEZ expansion programme. Cllr Rajawat was quoted on ChiswickW4 last week stating that; “the government has not committed to longer-term funding for councils, which means we cannot be certain about how much money we will have in the years ahead, making it difficult to plan.”

Where have we heard this before?

In 2011 the Labour administration stated the following ahead of the local budget:

  • Government is significantly reducing levels of public spending……. there is increasing demand on many services.

In 2016 they were at it again:

  • The Local Government Financial settlement was worse than anticipated – creating a £2.7m shortfall.

In 2019 they said:

  • Local government has seen an unprecedented course of cuts to public spending…. Hounslow

remains in a difficult financial position which it must address through a robust and realistic medium-term financial strategy

In 2022 they had to put taxes because of the…

  • continuation of the pandemic and its impact on residents and businesses …. impacts of removal of COVID-19 safety nets e.g. increased Universal Credit, end of furlough

You will be hard pushed to find anything that closely resembles measures for efficiency savings in any of the last 12 budgets under this administration. They are experts on telling us about pressures but novices at coming up with solutions.

Rather than blame central government, they should look to the private and voluntary sectors. The private sector has faced pressures too. In response we have seen the emergence of self-services, GPS and algorithm technologies that have made the sector more efficient. This is especially true when the Conservative Government for the past decade has been asking councils to create more cost cutting measures and revenue streams in order to become more self-reliant. Hounslow Council has consistently failed to do this.

It is true that there are challenges. Although, I do not believe that the answer to every challenge is more money for the council. That has been the narrative for the past 13 years. The answer should always be more efficiency, more creativity, and more transparency and more democracy. These are the solutions that will go some way to help reduce the number of complaints against Hounslow and the administration.


Tuesday, 24th January at 7:30pm: Licensing Panel

Tuesday, 31 January at 7:30pm: Borough council

Thursday, 2nd February at 7:00pm: Planning Committee

Tuesday, 21st February at 7:00pm: Cabinet

Tuesday, 28th February at 7:30pm: Budget Setting Meeting Borough council

Thursday, 2nd March at 7:00pm: Planning Committee

Tuesday, 14th March at 7:00pm: Chiswick Area Forum

Tuesday, 28 th March at 7:00pm: Cabinet


Chiswick: Every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at Chiswick Library (the eight Conservative councillors take this surgery in turn).

Gunnersbury: First Saturday of the month from 10am to 11am at The Gunnersbury Triangle Club, Triangle Way, off The Ridgeway, W3 8LU (at least one of the Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillors takes this surgery). 


Chiswick Gunnersbury (was Turnham Green) ward

Cllr Joanna Biddolph joanna.biddolph@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 703446

Cllr Ranjit Gill ranjit.gill@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 702956

Cllr Ron Mushiso ron.mushiso@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 702887

Chiswick Homefields ward

Cllr Jack Emsley jack.emsley@hounslow.gov.uk 07977 396017

Cllr Gerald McGregor gerald.mcgregor@hounslow.gov.uk 07866 784821

Cllr John Todd john.todd@hounslow.gov.uk 07866 784651

Chiswick Riverside ward

Cllr Peter Thompson peter.thompson@hounslow.gov.uk 07977 395810  

Cllr Gabriella Giles gabriella.giles@hounslow.gov.uk 07966 270823 

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