Conservative Ealing Council is pressing ahead with a grants commissioning process that will halt council funding to Southall Black Sisters (SBS). This is a serious mistake by the council, as by its own admission, it will have an adverse impact on the services provided to black and minority ethnic women in the borough suffering from domestic violence. It could also lead to the closure of this internationally renowned organisation that has been at the forefront of helping some of the most marginalised women take control of their lives when they have been blighted by domestic violence.

So how has the council got into this mess and could there be, even at this late stage, a positive way forward? Last July the council announced its intention to commission a borough-wide domestic violence service. At the time no such service existed but the council was providing an annual grant of £100,000 to SBS to provide specialist services to the majority of women suffering domestic violence in the borough.

In early 2008 the council, recognising the negative impact of its own proposed policy, decided to put aside £50,000 in addition to the £100,000 already earmarked for the borough-wide service but refused to accept the Labour group and SBS proposal that the £150,000 be equally split between a general and a specialist service.

If the council had listened this compromise could have resolved the matter but listening is not a Tory trait. Empty slogans and disparaging remarks is all we have had from them. Tory leader David Cameron talks about the need to tackle forced marriages but did not step in to help SBS despite the fact that they know more about this topic than virtually anybody else.

Currently the council's decision is subject to a judicial review but rather than seek a compromise the council is wasting Council Tax payers' money fighting the review.

For the sake of all women who experience domestic violence in the borough, I urge them to allow SBS to provide a specialist service alongside a new general service.