Monday, 24 December 2012

‘Parish’ the thought as Liberals accused of ‘secret parish deal’

‘Parish’ the thought as Liberals accused of ‘secret parish deal’
Parish Councils with greatest need hit hardest in Northumberland
The South East of Northumberland has emerged as the ‘loser’ as local government finances change. The change which is part of a shake-up of the welfare system and local government finance ushered in by the Conservative led coalition.
Labour councillors have demanded Liberal Council leader Jeff Reid ‘come clean’ on how the council will use a government transition grant to help cushion the predicted shock to local finances as the council have refused to disclose whether they will share that grant with the parishes who are hardest hit.
Areas covered by Blyth (14.83%), Ashington (11.83%), Newbiggin by the Sea (21.31%) and Amble (15.16%) are among a number of town and parish council’s which will see their parish precepts rise by over 10% as Liberals in County Hall adjust the tax base of the county. In the west of the county, Haltwhistle and Prudhoe town councils’ also face double digit rises just to stand still.
The council has removed households that receive council tax benefit from its tax base meaning areas which suffer most rely most on welfare and in work benefits. This will re-ignite the row in the authority over the ‘fairness of the council cuts’ agenda’.
Labour group leader Grant Davey said
‘This is another example of how Liberal Democrats in County Hall are failing to stand up for Northumberland. Parish and Town councils are now faced with a squeeze on their finances and many will have to consider double digit rises in their precept just to stand still. It’s time Jeff Reid came clean and told his towns and parishes just how much they will have to pay for policies dreamed up in Whitehall and pushed through by local Liberals and Tories on the ground’.

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