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South Shields premier political blog

A horror story (teller)

with 4 comments

Careful Cllr. Malcolm, you might scare the kids!

My guess is that Cllr. Iain Malcolm leader of South Tyneside Council has a good nose for the public mood and understands when we are just about fed up with reading about phone hacking journalists,  penny plundering policemen, and Joe McElderry! (Get in there early by the way). In readiness for what remains of the South Tyneside Summer Festival he is donning his metaphorical costume of the story teller to enthrall us with tales of more shock and horror!

There’s nothing like a good thriller to keep the crowd on your side and worry the living daylights out of the kids! It all reminds me of the shock horror budget cuts of £35m which turned into a net growth in expenditure of £700000. I somehow fancy that this “cut” of £35m was not the difference between last year’s and this year’s expenditure, but the difference between what we have and what he would have wished to have. You might also remember the story of Jarrow constituency disappearing off the map, another one to frighten the poor folks up the river from South Shields, this one emanated from Liverpool University and NOT from any firm Boundaries Commission proposals. Hence we come to this week’s horror story, a good firm evidence based piece confirmed by official government statistics……err……..not quite.

Coun Malcolm’s concerns are based on new findings from Sigoma, a specialist interest group for municipal authorities.

Oh, another academic project, not something that the government has actually officially announced. There is a caveat however, for those who like to pay closer attention to the story:

The Government may put support in place to subsidise poorer authorities……..

Eric Pickles added:

“none would be worse off”

I guess the whole idea of this piece of “localism” is to get councils like South Tyneside to be innovative, creative, and imaginative in attracting and keeping local businesses within their areas, one particular facet of local government that will become far more important in the medium term future if and when the economy starts to show any significant growth. However, the Eurozone debt crisis may throw a huge spanner in the works and restrict credit even further as Britain gets dragged deeper into the business of bailing out other countries which followed the Gordon Brown economic model.

Cllr. Malcolm might like to consider, via his lobbying company, pressuring the government to change the rules about rates and levies on ports so that a definable rate can be charged upon them according to the value of land or property occupied within a local authority area. At present, for instance, the Port of Tyne pays a unified business rate to the Department of Transport which is then redistributed amongst a number of councils, wouldn’t it be better if that rate came directly to South Tyneside for the business that the port transacts in this borough?

It would make a better success story than the horror fiction that Cllr. Malcolm prefers to propagate. Can we get back to evidence and fact based reporting Iain?

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Written by curly

July 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm

4 Responses

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  1. So the staff cuts, recruitment freezes and departmental funding cuts are all an illusion then; er well that’s ok , we just let Laurel and Hardy at the DCLG go unchallenged.


    July 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    • Just pointing out that despite the mix of service reductions and increased specific grants, South Tyneside Council’s net budget requirement actually grew by just under £1m according to the figures published on their website. It really is a matter of which way you decorate the story. It would be more fair and accurate to say that we had to make £24m worth of reductions rather than £35m worth of cuts, which sounds quite a bit worse!


      July 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    • Hmm………yes it does have a feel of “news management”


      July 28, 2011 at 8:47 am

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