Tory ‘electioneering’ only half the truth
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.