Sunday, 26 May 2013

Rochester South and Horsted Focus and fairer Council tax for Medway

Vale drive on the Davis estate
One of the regular criticisms of the Medway Liberal Democrats is that their existence is limited to only Gillingham South and Watling wards in the Medway towns.

This however is untrue.

For example, one of our activists (Sid Kingman) has fought long and hard to convert derelect allotment space on Ottway Street (in Gillingham North ward) into a children’s play area. The opening will be tomorrow at 10:00 am if anyone wants to pop down there and see.

Then of course is Rochester South & Horsted ward where are activists are pretty active too. Last week Focus newsletters were dropped through letter boxes all over the Davis estate as Viv Parker and her team hit the streets.

The RS&H team have been working on several local issues including traffic safety. Having served a couple of Freedom of Information requests Viv has found that the junction of Beresford Avenue and Pattens lane, which was reported by a resident, has indeed been somewhat of a blackspot. Over an eighteen month period of June 2010
à January 2012, there have been three serious accidents, one including two children who walked out between parked cars and a three car pile up!

The Tigermoth roundabout has also been of concern and upon research it was found that between September 2009 and 2011 there have been five accidents with a serious injury to a motorcyclist.

On consultation with residents Viv will be pressing the Council further to improve road safety at these junctions for moterists and residents.

Viv has also been at full council asking searching questions of Medway’s ruling Conservative party.  As part of the Liberal Democrat Party’s aim to make tax fairer locally and Nationally, Viv has raised the concern that the removal of the Council tax benefit will be a return to the dark days of the Poll tax as those who cannot afford to pay are forced to. The fees are looking to be £15s a week, which doesn't sound like much but it does work out as 30% of jobseekers allowance!

Fuel poverty is considered to be spending 10% of your household income on gas and electricity so does this massive 30% mean there is such a thing as Council tax poverty?

  The Cabinet have ignored plans and suggestions from officers to use Council taxes to bring the 1400 odd empty houses back into use and instead opted for this (probably so they can blame the Government come election time). When asked by Viv if this would indeed be the case the response was;

It was down to the magistrates to send people to prison.

However this is ignoring the fact that Medway Council have to pay for the court proceedings in the first place and may end up paying a lot more to bring a case to trial than would be recovered in missing taxes from those who simply cannot afford it. More waste from Medway’s Conservative ruling body.

Indeed, on a national level the Liberal Democrats have cut 24 million people’s income tax by £600s a year and by 2015 it will be £700s a year meaning the first £10,000s you earn will be tax free which will make a massive difference in your yearly budgets in Medway – nearly an extra £58s a month which is the equivalent of two weeks food shopping!

We believe in fairer taxes for all be it locally and nationally and we are fighting for it.

If you are a resident of Rochester South & Horsted please do drop the party an email and we’ll do our best to help. Likewise if you want to help or join the local party.

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