TaxPayers’ Alliance reveals December’s “Pin-Up” and “Pinhead” of the Month

December 28, 2011 10:10 AM

Today the TaxPayers’ Alliance announces the latest recipients of its monthly awards to celebrate those in power who have sought to save – and waste – taxpayers’ money.




The man, woman or organisation to be congratulated for saving public money or acting in the interests of the hard-pressed taxpayer is named the TPA’s “Pin-Up of the Month”, whilst whoever is found to have shown the greatest disregard for taxpayers’ cash is shamed as the TPA’s “Pinhead of the Month”.


December 2011’s Pin-Up of the Month is Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council in London. In the month that he revealed that he would be standing down as council leader next year, Cllr Greenhalgh announced that council tax in his London Borough will be cut again next year by 3.75% - the sixth year in a row that he has either frozen or reduced the burden on local council tax payers.


During his time as leader in Hammersmith and Fulham, Cllr Greenhalgh has never increased council tax, and has pioneered the combining of services, management and overhead costs across neighbouring authorities as a way of delivering value for money. Moreover, he has presided over a near halving of the council’s debts during his tenure as leader - whilst seeing residents’ satisfaction with council services reach record levels.


Meanwhile, the TPA’s Pinhead of the Month for December is Jerzy Buzek MEP, the Polish Christian Democrat who is President of the European Parliament. As the elected figurehead of the 754 MEPs, Mr Buzek has been the driving force behind proposals agreed this month by the Parliament’s Budget Committee to spend nearly €150 million on the purchase and renovation of buildings in both Strasbourg and Brussels. This is cash which otherwise could have been returned to EU member states like the UK which contribute far more to EU coffers than they get back.





Jonathan Isaby, Political Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, commented:


“The TaxPayers’ Alliance has always believed that key to delivering taxpayer value for money is exposing those in power to public scrutiny by ensuring that there is transparency and openness in how they spend our hard-earned cash. And as well as making examples of those who have shown a disregard for public money, it is important to recognise those who have tried to do the right thing by taxpayers.


“During his time as leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Stephen Greenhalgh has demonstrated exactly how a local authority can reduce the burden on council tax payers whilst protecting – and indeed improving – frontline services. He has set an example that his counterparts around the country should be seeking to emulate, with the recently-announced council tax cut for next year just the latest good news to emerge from his Borough.


“Cllr Greenhalgh should also be congratulated for substantially reducing the council’s debts – a move which will ensure the authority is on a sound financial footing for the long term. He is a veritable latter day giant of local government and is a worthy Pin-Up of the Month.”


“Whereas Stephen Greenhalgh has actively sought to deliver taxpayer value by selling under- or unused buildings, the same cannot be said of Jerzy Buzek, who is instead overseeing an expansion of the European Parliament’s property portfolio in both Strasbourg and Brussels. It remains a very expensive nonsense for taxpayers that the European Parliament maintains offices and buildings in two separate cities, not to mention the associated travelling costs for MEPs and staff. Mr Buzek should be using his position to work towards ending this travelling circus, not reinforcing it.


“What’s more, as governments and households everywhere are tightening their belts, European Union institutions should be downsizing, not expanding, so British taxpayers will be angry that their money is going towards making the Brussels bureaucracy ever more bloated. Whilst national governments look for items to cut from their expenditure, Mr Buzek and those in charge of the European Parliament are spending additional hundreds of millions not only on new buildings, but on propaganda temples like the recently-opened “Parlamentarium” and the planned “European House of History”. Mr Buzek evidently thinks that these are productive and sensible uses of taxpayers’ money, which is why he is our Pinhead of the Month.”





Today the TaxPayers’ Alliance announces the latest recipients of its monthly awards to celebrate those in power who have sought to save – and waste – taxpayers’ money.




The man, woman or organisation to be congratulated for saving public money or acting in the interests of the hard-pressed taxpayer is named the TPA’s “Pin-Up of the Month”, whilst whoever is found to have shown the greatest disregard for taxpayers’ cash is shamed as the TPA’s “Pinhead of the Month”.


December 2011’s Pin-Up of the Month is Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council in London. In the month that he revealed that he would be standing down as council leader next year, Cllr Greenhalgh announced that council tax in his London Borough will be cut again next year by 3.75% - the sixth year in a row that he has either frozen or reduced the burden on local council tax payers.


During his time as leader in Hammersmith and Fulham, Cllr Greenhalgh has never increased council tax, and has pioneered the combining of services, management and overhead costs across neighbouring authorities as a way of delivering value for money. Moreover, he has presided over a near halving of the council’s debts during his tenure as leader - whilst seeing residents’ satisfaction with council services reach record levels.


Meanwhile, the TPA’s Pinhead of the Month for December is Jerzy Buzek MEP, the Polish Christian Democrat who is President of the European Parliament. As the elected figurehead of the 754 MEPs, Mr Buzek has been the driving force behind proposals agreed this month by the Parliament’s Budget Committee to spend nearly €150 million on the purchase and renovation of buildings in both Strasbourg and Brussels. This is cash which otherwise could have been returned to EU member states like the UK which contribute far more to EU coffers than they get back.





Jonathan Isaby, Political Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, commented:


“The TaxPayers’ Alliance has always believed that key to delivering taxpayer value for money is exposing those in power to public scrutiny by ensuring that there is transparency and openness in how they spend our hard-earned cash. And as well as making examples of those who have shown a disregard for public money, it is important to recognise those who have tried to do the right thing by taxpayers.


“During his time as leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Stephen Greenhalgh has demonstrated exactly how a local authority can reduce the burden on council tax payers whilst protecting – and indeed improving – frontline services. He has set an example that his counterparts around the country should be seeking to emulate, with the recently-announced council tax cut for next year just the latest good news to emerge from his Borough.


“Cllr Greenhalgh should also be congratulated for substantially reducing the council’s debts – a move which will ensure the authority is on a sound financial footing for the long term. He is a veritable latter day giant of local government and is a worthy Pin-Up of the Month.”


“Whereas Stephen Greenhalgh has actively sought to deliver taxpayer value by selling under- or unused buildings, the same cannot be said of Jerzy Buzek, who is instead overseeing an expansion of the European Parliament’s property portfolio in both Strasbourg and Brussels. It remains a very expensive nonsense for taxpayers that the European Parliament maintains offices and buildings in two separate cities, not to mention the associated travelling costs for MEPs and staff. Mr Buzek should be using his position to work towards ending this travelling circus, not reinforcing it.


“What’s more, as governments and households everywhere are tightening their belts, European Union institutions should be downsizing, not expanding, so British taxpayers will be angry that their money is going towards making the Brussels bureaucracy ever more bloated. Whilst national governments look for items to cut from their expenditure, Mr Buzek and those in charge of the European Parliament are spending additional hundreds of millions not only on new buildings, but on propaganda temples like the recently-opened “Parlamentarium” and the planned “European House of History”. Mr Buzek evidently thinks that these are productive and sensible uses of taxpayers’ money, which is why he is our Pinhead of the Month.”





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