Apr 16 2014

Open Letter to Cllr Hall on the TNT Council Tax Letter

guest_postDear Cllr Hall,

Re; Your Violation of Representation of People Act 1949 and Misuse of Public Funds for Party Political Purposes

My Council Tax Ref: [redacted]

I received your letter dated 28 March 2014 regarding an error by TNT in processing some Council Tax letters. This letter has your name, status and photo. At the bottom of the letter you have also printed “Conservative Councillors: Working for Harrow Residents. “!

I strongly object to your use of this issue for party Political Purposes. Such a letter should have come from either the Chief Executive or the Director of Finance of Harrow Council. You as the Leader of the Council has no business in dealing with the day to day administrative matters. However, you saw this as an opportunity to both publicise yourself and your party at the cost of Harrow Council Tax payers such as myself.

As you are aware, there is going to be an Election for the Council in the not too distant future in May 2014. Assuming this letter has been sent to all the properties in Harrow and assuming that it costs £1.00 per letter including letter, envelope and postage, you have had about £100,000.00 of Council, Tax spent for the benefit of the Conservative Party.

  • I want you to cease this practice with immediate effect.
  • I want you to explain and apologise for this misconduct in Public Office.
  • I want you to pay this money back to the Council from the funds of the Conservative Party.
  • I also want you to include this as a part of your election expenses for the May election.

If you are not ready to to do the 4 things asked of you, then please forward this to your Corporate Complaints Officer.

Please note that I shall be taking the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman and the Electoral Commission in due course after completing the complaint process.

Yours sincerely,

Shambhu Gupta

Kingsfield Avenue
Middlesex HA2

We queried Cllr Hall on this issue – indeed, before Mr/Ms Gupta raised it. She advised that this had previously been cleared by the Council’s legal team, and that only 24,000 letters had been sent out to residents. Our enquiries to the Council’s legal team failed to elicit a response.

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  1. Melanie

    Well done for an excellent letter. You won’t get a reply, or if you do it will be plausible. If you push it you will get either a rude reply or ignored. No one questions the Queen!

  2. Susan Hall

    In responding to Mr. Gupta’s letter, I think it’s important to establish certain facts – a number of which he has ignored or misrepresented.

    The letter in question was sent to 24,000 households – not 100,000 as he suggested. Additionally, it was not regarding a ‘day to day administrative matter’, but a service failure which had the potential to cause thousands of our residents to go overdrawn. I would also point out that the Leader does write to residents on matters regarding council tax – indeed, the booklet this year contained a forward from myself. So it is entirely with precedent that I would write such a letter.

    As to the cost; the letter itself made it clear that TNT would be picking up all costs incurred as a result of the error, including sending the letter – so there would be no cost/expenditure on the part of the Council or the public purse. The letter was also cleared by all relevant officers before it was sent.

    Regarding the demands in the letter; if another potentially serious issue arose regarding the failure of a Council service, I absolutely would write to residents to explain what went wrong and what is being done to fix it. As TNT made clear they would pay for the letter, there is no issue regarding cost to the Council. Election expenses will be published in the normal way, post May’s elections.

    I do not see the need to report this to Corporate Complaints, and I think it’s disappointing that you’re choosing to involve other public organisations who have far more pressing matters to attend to at election time.

  3. Harrow Dude

    Sounds like Susie needs to review her understanding of Purdah.
    No surprise there then.

  4. Susan Hall

    Harrow Dude given who you are you should know, or rather you do know that purdah came in on Monday, not a month ago. It’s such a shame that personal grievances are playing out on this site as opposed to genuine comments on issues. Still if that makes you happy continue, I am noting your postings lest there is anything I should do regarding your comments

    1. Harrow Dude

      Susie Susie Susie If your are truly ‘noting my postings lest there is anything you should do regarding my comments’. Which some might find intimidating if they had actually done anything fallacious.

      However I would suggest the first thing you consider is actually answering questions put to you.
      Is it true Harrow is now seen as high risk due to you spending all the contingency funds?

      Yes Purdah came in on Monday but you seem to have overlooked the part about promoting a Council service or project during or immediately preceding Purdah.

      For the record Susie I have no personal grievance, and I will continue to ask questions of the Leader of my borough who ever that may be, for that is my democratic right.
      I realise that you were not voted into the position which you currently reside.
      Be that as it may I look forward to your riposte lest you forget Harrow is still a democracy.

      1. Melanie

        Harrow Dude, you are brilliant. I was not surprised in the least when you got a threat rather than an answer. How dare you question the Queen? I am continually surprised by her Teflon coating. Harrow needs more people like you. Keep up the good work!

  5. Krishna James (@CllrKJames)

    It seems odd to put down your parties name on council papers, this appears to be a very recent development.

  6. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    Well said Krishna – you should answer that one Susan…

    1. Melanie

      Now then, my dear friend Willy, you, I and the rest of Harrow in possession of a brain, know full well that there will be no reply. Just a diatribe of obtuse obfuscation. But it was your group leader, who, after Susan proposed a vote of no confidence in his leadership, a role SO important to him, he got kicked out of the Labour Party in order to hold on to it, who then voted for her to be leader. As I recall, nearly all your party rewarded Susan for throwing their leader out, by voting her in. It would be interesting to many people to know how you could betray Thaya in that way. Any problems now are of your party’s making, except Krishna, who I seem to remember, has some moral fibre and abstained. Maybe you could explain that seemingly outrageous voting. Thank you my friend.

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