Thursday, 25 April 2013

I Partially agree with Vince on Government and Council spending

In last week's Medway Messenger, Vince Maple, leader of the Medway Labour group wrote this in his
Labour leader, Councillor and all round good guy Vince Maple

Politics, local or national, is ultimately about priorities. When you have a limited amount of resources you have to decide about what is the priority. I think we have seen in the last few weeks the clearest indication of where the Tories' priorities lie.

Since my last Party People column, we have seen some changes in Welfare and taxation, which show the priorities of the Tory led Coalition and have been implemented by the Tory councillors here in Medway.

We have seen the bedroom
Tax, which is impacting on vulnerable people including the disabled, who are now having income deducted because they may need an additional room for their medical treatment.

More than 14,000 Medway residents, including disabled residents, those who are seeking work and those hard working on low incomes, would have received a council tax bill they simply cannot afford.

Many people are calling this the Pickles poll tax, named after Eric Pickles, the Tory Local Government secretary of state, who was happy to claim £280 expenses for his monthly food bill from the tax payer, but is now forcing literally thousands of residents in Medway to make the impossible choice between buying food or paying their council tax bill.

So what is the priority for the government if they are making these changes?

A tax cut for millionaires. Yes, at the same time as these changes we see people who are earning £1m getting a tax cut of £100,000 - hardly all of us in it together.

It is quite clear to me that when it comes to the choices and changes to be made, the Tories and their Lib Dems partners have got their priorities wrong.

I must say I agree with a lot of what he said however this was my response which was sent through to the Messenger and published today.

 I partially agree with what Vince Maple said in his Party People column last week.
The changes to the Welfare system and the Bedroom tax is and will have a serious impact on Medway's residents who are struggling by on low incomes or solely on benefits due to a lack of suitable work.

Further to that, families like mine are caught by the council's priorities. Cuts and funding changes to our local Sure-start centre have been announced and that my young son will not be accepted to nursery until next year. This means my wife cannot return to work and I will have to try and support my wife and two children on already stretched wages. At the same time the council is pumping money into the tunnel and an open top tour bus!

However I do disagree with his final point that the Libdems in government have their priorities wrong. Since joining the Tories in 2010 they have given free nursery places to two year olds, cut income tax on the first £10k earned a massive boon to Medway's residents, index linked state pensions, frozen fuel duties and have been fighting for a mansion tax for many years targeting the rich to support the poor.

The libdems, especially locally, are working hard for those in need against the cuts - believe me, I'm one of them!

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