Councillor Jeff Hanna, Merton Council (Labour, Pollards Hill ward)

May I congratulate the Conservative councillors who form the new, 11-strong, shadow cabinet in Merton, (‘Opposition reveals its new top 11’, May 24).

In announcing her “sweeping changes”, Tory Leader Councillor Debbie Shears looks forward to the 2014 local elections, intent on demonstrating that the Conservatives could deliver better services for less.

That could prove difficult.

The Labour Cabinet, which has the rather greater responsibility of actually running the council, has only nine members, two fewer than the Tories’ shadow team.

Should the Tories win in 2014, the cost of running the council will immediately increase, a 20 per cent larger Cabinet increasing the cost of responsibility allowances.

Cabinet allowances are of course relatively small, a few thousand here or there.

Yet overall Tory financial strategy was fatally exposed during this year’s Budget process.

On February 7, three Tory shadow cabinet members, including Tory Finance shadow, Coun Grocott, actually proposed increasing council expenditure by over £3million.

Better services for less?  Fortunately for Merton residents, the Tory motion was voted down by Labour, Lib-Dems and Merton Park Independents.

Tories may talk of better services for less. Meanwhile, our Labour Cabinet is actually delivering them. 

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