Ealing Liberal Democrats create new Shadow Cabinet role for “Council Honesty”

Image: Ealing’s Liberal Democrat Councillors

New position will focus on uncovering instances of Ealing Council’s “dishonesty”

Ealing’s Liberal Democrats have created a new Shadow Cabinet role for “Council Honesty” amid allegations the Labour-run Ealing Council has been consistently dishonest or has not been entirely transparent while governing.

Since becoming the official Opposition in May 2022, the Lib Dems say they have been highlighting a number of issues with the Council including £3m spent on Ealing Town Hall to turn it into a hotel and losing £65,000 of IT equipment.

More recently, the Lib Dems accused the Council of lying to the public by claiming that all Council workers and contractors are paid the London Living Wage. They said only a third of Ealing’s schools have committed to paying their staff the London Living Wage for support staff.

Ealing Council denied this. Critics accused the Lib Dems of deliberately misrepresenting the situation. An Ealing Council spokesperson said:

“Ealing Council has been a Living Wage employer since 2013. There is no need for schools to accredit individually as they are covered by the Council’s accreditation.

“Schools in the London Borough of Ealing that are academies and are managed independently of the Council will not be automatically accredited Living Wage employers.

“We actively encourage these schools to become Living Wage employers but cannot force this issue. It is very probable that the school advertising a role below Living Wage was an academy.

“As agreed in the meeting with trade unions last year, we will be writing to all governing bodies in our maintained schools, to remind them that they should be paying no less than the London Living Wage as per our Pay Policy Statement 2024-25 agreed by Full Council in March 2024.”

The Opposition say the new Shadow Cabinet role for “Council Honesty” has been created to uncover more examples of what they describe as Ealing Council’s “dishonesty”. The new responsibilities will be taken on by Cllr Gary Busuttil, as part of his position managing finance for the Lib Dems. His new title is Opposition Spokesperson for Finance and Council Honesty.

Cllr Busuttil said:

“The Liberal Democrats are on a mission to provide accountability to the Labour Party in Ealing. It’s been a really big two years for the Liberal Democrat opposition group, and we are looking to expose even more failings from the council.”

The Chiswick Calendar has approached Ealing Council for further comment.