Tory ‘elec­tion­eer­ing’ only half the truth

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

THE last two is­sues of your news­pa­per carry ar­ti­cles on the Tories laud­ing their achieve­ments on the 2007/2008 Ash­ford Bor­ough Bud­get. It pro­vokes a re­sponse. I ob­ject to this spin, not only be­cause it is thinly dis­guised elec­tion­eer­ing be­fore the May 3 elec­tions but be­cause other coun­cil­lors are bound by rules of se­crecy im­posed on them that make it dif­fi­cult to tell the elec­torate the facts. A quite dif­fer­ent as­sess­ment could be that the coun­cil is nearly broke and that job places and ser­vices have been cut or de­layed. Add to this the fact that the pro­posed rate in­crease of nearly five per cent is above the in­fla­tion rate, will hurt those on low in­comes and that it could be one of the higher lo­cal author­ity in­creases, and you end up with quite a dif­fer­ent pic­ture. The in­crease in rates di­rectly re­lates to the bud­get. Coun­cil­lors and of­fi­cers did do a great job in work­ing hard to “find bud­get sav­ings” but that it was dif­fi­cult and nec­es­sary rather un­der­lines my point. Cllr Peter Dav­i­son, Ash­ford In­de­pen­dent. Birchett Lane, Ham­street, Ash­ford.

THE Ken­tish Ex­press (March 1) re­ports Labour group leader Cllr Mike Eddy liken­ing com­plaints about gov­ern­ment un­der-fund­ing of Kent County Coun­cil to “a spoilt teenager who gets £10 a week pocket money while his mates get £12”. What a lot this says about Labour. How can any­one re­gard gov­ern­ment grants as be­ing like pocket money! Grants to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are to de­liver ser­vices that are needed to sup­port the vul­ner­a­ble, ed­u­cate our young peo­ple, main­tain our roads and shape our econ­omy. Pocket money is for buy­ing sweet­ies. There is an over­whelm­ing case that Kent does not re­ceive enough fund­ing for its needs com­pared to grants to other lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. It is all the more galling that KCC is short-changed in this way when the Au­dit Com­mis­sion has once again awarded our coun­cil top marks for per­for­mance? Call­ing for Kent to be funded fairly is not “Tory whinge­ing” and any­one who cares about de­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lent ser­vices in Kent should add their voice to the call. Susan Carey, mem­ber El­ham Val­ley, Kent County Coun­cil.

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