A good councillor makes a huge error
A massive reduction in council tax?
I’ve just received an election leaflet from the veteran Progressive councillor Ken Hickman, a man for whom I have a huge amount of respect, Ken has already served as a diligent councillor in South Tyneside for 23 years which is a remarkable record of public service. He has always taken the view that there is no room for national party politics in your local council and has steadfastly represented this almost unique South Shields Progressive ethos throughout his years of service.
I remember first meeting him as a teenager when helping my mother to shop in Frederick Street, where he and his late wife ran a successful business as a fruit and vegetable retailer, always a person of humility and always one of those typical Geordies with his heart in the right place and prepared to go out of his way to help other people. He has carried this value throughout his life even when personal circumstances have not been at their best for him, he is everything that you would wish a local council representative to be.
It bothers me that Cllr, Jane Branley should try to split the vote further in the West Park ward by putting another member of the Branley family in as an Independent Alliance candidate, and try to unseat one of South Tyneside’s unsung heroes.
However, back to Ken’s leaflet, it contains an error, so glaring that it would be wrong to let it pass.
Sustained pressure from your Progressive councillors has seen a massive reduction in Council Tax. Down from 7.9% in 2002 to 2.7% in 2010.
Looks good, sounds good, but fatally flawed – there have never been any reductions in Council Tax in South Tyneside throughout Labour’s history of managing the borough’s finances. There have only been year on year increases, constantly, relentlessly, without fail! Labour is the party of spending, thrift is something they would wish to avoid if possible until it is forced upon them, to spend you need to tax, the more you tax the more you take out of your local economy.
I think he meant to say a reduction in the rate or scale of the increases.
I’m surprised that Ken has not zeroed in on Labour’s record in this respect, but I can understand that his concerns now will be more focussed on defending his seat against another Branley independent rather than fighting it out against the Labour Party.