Sunday, 2 December 2012

Council tax rise in Medway - who is to blame?

In his book Stupid White men, Michael Moore describes a raft of policy brought in by the Clinton administration that would create a lot of public interest and support but knowing full well they weren't implementable such as;

Safeguard Alaskan seals

Award $320m to the Chicago mass transit system

Out law snow mobiles in national parks

Award $7.2 million to states for child passenger safety...

They were all to be cancelled by the incoming Republican government thus making them look bad even though the reversals would have to be a given as they were expensive and unworkable.

So what has this got to do with the Medway towns? Do we have a seal colony?

No - but the last Labour Government have left some statutory landmines which Medway, and other councils across the nation, have blundered into it.

At the local party AGM on Wednesday, Councillor Geoff Juby delivered his Group leader's report which revealed these startling facts...

Red vs Blue - whoever wins - we lose
One example is that local auditors imposed a measure, that had been appealed and insisted on by the National Auditors office, that will cause all manner of problems for the council and it's elderly residents. Simply put it means that the council must charge the full cost of some elderly care provision to the community - i.e those that use it. This will cause the knock on effect that elderly people aren't going to go to the day centres, are staying at home alone and foregoing home visits because they simply cannot afford the service.

Remember when Labour were kicking up a stink about the closure of the homes last January and how the Conservatives were screwing over the elderly residents of the towns with the closure of care homes?

Thankfully a cross party agreement in full council saved the council the added cost of backdating this to 2009!!!!

Another one, on a slightly different tack is the reform to Council tax benefits. Despite all of the parties working together to get Council tax benefits decided at the local level and the Coalition Government putting the law forward it was thrown out of the House of Lords by the Labour lords. The over 65s are exempt to any of the rises. Medway Council wanted to distribute the rise evenly across all of the board and cut the single occupancy from 25% to 20% and had the cost been spread across the age ranges there would need to be no need for an increase.

I'm not going to mention the over spends that the Conservative administration have done in the past as they are well documented elsewhere but...

A long while ago I wrote about Medway Tunnel, the dodgy deal that saw Medway Council buy it for £1 from the Rochester Bridge association (that Councillor Jarrett and Councillor Chambers are both members of) and opposed by the Medway Libdems, well the last of the money has dried up and it is up to the council tax payer to fund it now. On top of that the road maintenance budget has had to be slashed by £1 million as the money does not simply exist. So stand by for worse driving conditions in the towns.

Michael Gove's move for more academies has also fudged things up for everyone too. there have been mistakes in the funding of the Academies so £8m is being moved from the education budget to cover this move. Basically all of those schools that decided to stay within the LEA are now paying for the Academies!
This is an ongoing issue however and the Council is challenging this - let's hope it will work out with a favourable outcome.

The big two, too busy playing politics and trying to score points and it is the residents that suffer.

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