I’m writing to correct a number of biases and misapprehensions that surround Mr Stobie’s correspondence in the Journal dated 3 Aug 2015.
Firstly, we can establish that Northumberland County Council is currently dealing with Conservative cuts of some 40% which he seems to have forgotten. Not to recognise there will be changes is living in a parallel universe.
Secondly, we can establish that, despite Conservative attempts to deny reality, 47% of the county population live in the South East so it’s obvious that more spending will take place where the population is based. Also note that the people of the South East live in only 3% of the total size of the county.
Thirdly, busses have been deregulated and have been left to the vagaries of the ‘free market’ and the county council has fought a valiant fight to stop private bus providers ditching the least profitable routes and we’ll continue to stand up for local communities.
Lastly, does Mr Scobie realise that that this Labour led administration which has been in power since May 2013, has reversed Lib Dem/Conservative coalition decisions which stopped building of affordable houses, stopped the ritual sacking of thousands of council workers, introduced free car parking which has resulted in a 10%+ boost in sales in our market towns, slashed so called ‘fat cat pay’ by over £1m by cutting the number of directors and consultants at the council and we’re investing in a huge capital programme over the next few years which will see a new hospital for Berwick, hundreds more affordable homes, new leisure centre’s for Ponteland and Morpeth if they want them, new schools for Prudhoe and Alnwick, new plans to revamp schools in Hexham and Ponteland and more investment in frontline services in our market towns reversing the Lib Dem/Conservative centralisation of services which decimated our market towns in 2008.
So Mr Scobie and local Conservatives are being disingenuous and misleading to suggest that the South East is benefitting disproportionately from an ambitious Labour led programme of works against the backdrop of severe central government cuts. I’ve listed a few examples of how the whole county is benefitting from this Labour led administration to offset the ‘deficiency’ of facts which run through the divisive arguments that seek to pit one community in Northumberland against another.
I’ll conclude by reminding Mr Scobie that in the 2015 General Election, Labour stood on a platform of essentially renationalising local bus provision. You can’t say that the Labour party haven’t been clear about the ‘direction of travel for local busses’ and it’s a shame that other local politicians haven’t followed that lead.
Pegswood Ward Member.