Jason Kitcat is not a happy bunny. He is unhappy about the BBC coverage of the announcement of the Tory budget: He writes on Twitter “Couldn’t BBC News even get a single opposition quote? Weak reporting”. He is, of course, right on that.
But of more importance is his reaction to the draft budget itself: “Cynical, irresponsible, gimmicky – take your pick!”. He describes the budget as “breathtaking. It slices HUGE chunks of budgets for children’s services and social care. Almost £5.5m from Children’s & Families services, about £6.1m from Adult Social Care as well as smaller but harmful cuts from planning, licensing and central services including, for example, health & safety support work. Additionally the Tories propose to spend £1.1m capital funds removing cycle lanes from Grand Avenue & The Drove. Yes, that’s right, removing cycle lanes. They also wish to borrow just over £4.5m to refurbish car parks.”
Interestingly, Jason says that “My colleague Bill Randall and I have asked to meet Labour councillors to discuss any joint amendments we might be able to agree on.” This could be the first real test of whyether Labour and the Greens can work together. Some how, it is something I doubt. The anamosity between Labour and Green hacks runs deep, particularly amongst Labour activists and several councillors. Some long standing Labour councillors still believe that it is their right to control the Council and have the City’s MPs, and they cannot stand these Green upstarts! Come the first Friday of May, there will remain just a small rump of Labour councillors. The Greens, I believe, are willing to work with Labour. They, of course have everything to gain, nothing to lose.
How do others see Mary Mears’ ‘Master Plan’? Dr Faust doesn’t think its will wash with the public: “I would have thought it likely that any proposed cut from the Council could be more than wiped out by a rise in the police precept – so people might see an overall rise anyway. However the move does present a challange to other parties – how much will they propose to raise Council Tax in order to save jobs and services? The reduction from the Tories just makes the gap larger, and a harder sell. Arguing for a 1% difference is far easier than a 10% one.”
‘Clive’ thinks that the council tax cut is the equivalent of an irresponsible giveaway budget – “it is the kind of behaviour that the coalitionistas are trying to pin on the last government, with very little basis in fact. It only has to be hoped that enough people see through it – fortunately B&H voters are pretty clued up, in my experience. One percent is not much, either, and it won’t be enough if the opposition parties remember that the Tories are in power here (barely) and it is their seats (the winnable ones) that ought to be targeted.”
Momma Grizzly (Rachael Bates) as you would expect, thinks the Tory plan is just grand: “I am indeed extremely pleased with the plans to reduce council tax. I join Rob Buckwell in saying that I hope that those in opposition don’t block this sensible plan which will help hard-working people to retain more of their own money.”
But ‘Steampunk’ disagrees with Grizzly and is united with Dan Wilson’s comment reported in my last post: “Dan exposes the cynicism of the 1% tax cut succinctly with the concrete example that for most ‘hard-working people’ this amounts to around £10 cash back per year (admittedly more for the better-off). To pretend that this is going to help families – or in more abstract terms help the local economy – when the reality is that you would be shutting services and making hundreds of people redundant is totally dishonest.”
More to follow …..
Filed under: Council Elections 2011, Politics | Tagged: BBC, Brighton, Budget, Clive, Council Tax, Dan Wilson, Dr Faust, Hove, Jason Kitcat, Mary Mears, Rachael Bates, Rob Buckwell, Steampunk, Twitter | 2 Comments »