Monday, 28 March 2011
As a member of the Employment Matters Committee, last week's meeting was extremely enlightening. Despite a painful budget cut from central government of £23.5 million for 2011/12, Medway has cut just 3.5% of job posts across the organisation, making Medway in the bottom quartile (i.e amongst the very lowest) of job cuts acoss the whole country. Contrast this with Bradford Council, a hung Council but with Labour having most seats, cutting a massive 31% of posts. The small number of jobs lost at Medway indicates many things - 1. We were always a lean organisation to start with, and 2. We found efficiencies and a 'better for less' solution to managing on a smaller budget rather than the slash-and-burn tactics used by other authorities, mainly Labour-run. Manchester, a Labour-run authority, must be the epitome of such behaviour, cutting the services that people valued most - leisure centres, libraries and public toilets and 17% of its workforce (some 2,000 staff). Such savage cuts were cruelly politically motivated and shows the worst side of what a Labour-run Council means on the ground.
Sunday, 13 March 2011
Many Labour blogs keep raising the fear of tolls on Medway Tunnel. Let us make it clear once more.
There are no plans, there have never been any plans and there never will be a toll on Medway tunnel under any future Conservative administration.
The cat was let out of the bag recently when it was revealed that the Medway Labour group had asked Medway Council officers to prepare a feasibility/revenue study on what tolls would mean for Medway Council finances. Council officers are under a duty to prepare reports for, and answer questions raised, by any of the political groups and Councillors. Labour then claimed that 'it was under consideration by Medway Council officers'. Disingenuous or underhand mischief making - you decide.
The truth is that Medway Conservatives will never raise a toll on Medway tunnel. Local Liberal Democrats similarly raise the issue as a scare tactic. In one of their leaflets last year they claimed that we were 'planning to raise tolls', by the second leaflet it had become 'Conservatives had discussed making a toll'. I expect the next leaflet will claim that a Medway Conservative had a dream about tolls!
In the week before the Council budget meeting, local unions, the bankrollers of the national Labour Party, were calling for a rise to Council tax in Medway.
Over every year of the 13 years of Labour government, Council tax rose steadily each year, and now stands at more than double the rates they were in 1997. In the first local budget following the Conservative coalition government, Council tax rates in Medway have been frozen ...... you work out the obvious difference!
The above posting on local Labour websites really is beyond belief.
As Labour are very much in the minority on Medway Council and all of their members voted AGAINST the budget presented by the Conservative group (which proposed a tax freeze), how the Labour group can claim to have had any impact in the sensible decision to freeze Council tax levels beggars belief. That they now claim that it was they who have delivered a Council tax freeze is somewhat laughable.