A few weeks ago Libdem Council group leader Geoff Juby had this to say in his Party People column for the Medway Messenger.
I went on a day trip to France to visit friends living in a tiny hamlet in the countryside. What an eye
Britain is part of Europe but we don't enjoy the same economic benefits as our partners. First, utilities - water rates where they pay in a year what I pay in a month, and their equivalent of council tax is £140 per year (including TV licence).
As many of our utilities are now provided by French-owned companies, I wonder why there is such an enormous price differential - perhaps we are paying for cheaper service for the French.
It makes one wonder if privatisation has really benefited us, as both Conservative and Labour governments have pursued privatisation with enthusiasm.
Thirteen years of Labour Government forgot the working population as it created a cosy relationship with big business and multiple money-gobbling quangos.
Our NHS is wonderful for many things, but the dental service seems to be cheaper in Europe and much more patient focused - I know of cases where friends travel to Europe for dental treatment rather than pay NHS charges.
In France, electricity is cheap, with lots of wind farms serving small villages (the village is allowed to keep some of the profits). Planning is much easier, but i think this probably because local government MEANS local - a mayor for any settlement of more than 20 people, and has decision making powers.
Here, we seem to going for ever bigger councils and decision-making has to pass through so many layers of officialdom. Also, nobody seems to be accountable for misinformation, as purchaser of blue badges are finding out when they apply for renewals within the two months specified, only to find out it takes weeks longer and they are left stranded.
Indeed, privatisation is forcing average working families into a forced servitude. With ever increasing bills for utilities and even commuting to and from work and with the average wage rising by one or two percent people are getting priced out and have to wonder whether or not to put the heating on or draw a bath.
With the 40% cut to Council nurseries in Medway the fees ware likely to rise by a similar amount which will price many working families out of child care. It will become uneconomic for one partner to work part time as they're wages may not cover the bill of one child and especially not two. This will leave many working families in the Medway towns reduced to one wage and having to make some very real choices as to what they can and cannot afford including utility bills.
What will our Government or Local council do to help us or will we remain as indentured customers to big business.