Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the new Sowerby Bridge swimming pool with my daughter. For £5.20 we had an excellent swim.
The news that Calderdale Council Lib-Lab Cabinet are considering hiking up the charges for swimming pools, parking charges, theatres and parks; shows once again just what a sham the recent budget consultation scheme has been.
It would be wholly wrong for Calderdale Council to offset the reduction in their central grant with increases in charges when there are so many areas of waste remaining.
For example, why aren’t Labour and the Lib-Dems cutting the number of non-jobs instead? Posts such as equality & diversity, climate change, health & safety, hard to reach minority groups. Why aren’t they looking at sharing services across the five local authorities? Why aren’t they looking at streamlining services and taking out further layers of top to middle management and bureaucracy?
Instead we have a Lib-Lab Cabinet intent on charging the ratepayers more for services, cutting front line staff like care-workers for the elderly; and Linda Riorden MP playing the Labour Party line of blaming it all entirely on the Government.
It’s not the fault of the Government. The situation in Calderdale is entirely the result of the local Labour party having promised their union paymasters there will be a minimum number of redundancies, the pain will be loaded onto the ratepayers with fee hikes; and the Government takes the blame. Shameless.
What’s even more incredulous is Labour Councillors have persuaded their Socialist-leaning Lib-Dem Cabinet colleagues to go along with the idea of blaming their own Government.
When Labour voting ratepayers find the cost of their swim has gone up, and there is less money in their pocket; will they take comfort from the fact some non-job employee in the Town Hall continues to enjoy their high wages and gold-plated final salary pension scheme on retirement?
Or will they agree with the Conservatives that the entire public sector in the UK has become so bloated and inefficient, prioritising the needs of the public-sector Unions rather than the ratepayers; that it now needs to slim down and the money saved put back in our pockets. The elections in May 2011 will tell.
Cllr Andrew Feather
(Conservative – Sowerby Bridge)