Thursday, 11 January 2018

Tory cabinet member Glen Sanderson will soon be embarking on a tour of Northumberland's market towns.

Towns like Morpeth, Berwick, Hexham, Alnwick, Blyth, Ashington, Bedlington Cramlington, Prudhoe, Newbiggin and more all see the economic benefits from free car parking. Car parking was the standalone issue at the 2013 local elections and thousands of residents signed petitions demanding free parking in their town. Labour delivered it within 6 months.

But now free car parking is in danger. Cllr Sanderson will 'consult' with town and parishes to see if they want to reintroduce paid car parking to solve traffic management problems, real or invented, by the Tory coalition at County Hall. Remember Northumberland Tories have halted Labour's plans to build multi storey car parks in places like Cramlington, Morpeth and Hexham which would have alleviated traffic problems especially in Cramlington.

This is a coalition which now says it's facing a £65m black hole in the council finances and it seems the motorist is being asked to fill the void. Not only will the motorist face paid parking in the county again, residents will see their council tax go up by 2.99% every year for the next two years and a1% surcharge for adult social care for the next two years too.

In just 8 months of this Tory administration they've racked up £65m black hole. Even the external auditor highlighted the risk of £30m savings which have no plan. It's down to Tory decisions now though.

It's clear that Northumberland residents face a 'taxing time' over the coming years to pay for 8 months of Tory mismanagement.

For those of you who are interested, here's a little list of what we know about Tory mismanagement since 4 May. There's a lot we don't know given the Tories love of secrecy in their 'secret society'.


£65m Black hole


Cost of Tory decisions since 4 May

1.     Scrapping Labour business plans for savings - £30m (It's in the EY report) 

2.     Stopping move from County Hall - £17m to update County Hall in Morpeth over course of MTFP (next 4 years)

3.     Halting Portland Park project and contract - £9m (and rising)

4.     Scrapping Arch dividend - £4.8m (It's on the Arch website)

5.     Scrapping Core Strategy - £1.1m (it's in an FOI)

6.     New Core Strategy - £1m (estimated more likely to increase)

7.     Steve Mason pay off - £1m + (published in Hexham Courant)

8.     New deal for 2 day per week CEO - £185,000

TOTAL = £64.085M

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