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Saturday, 15 December 2012
They say a week is a long time in politics – it clearly is for Councillor Hunter given her ‘forgetfulness’
BERWICK CAR PARKING LATEST
‘The Liberal Democrats can’t have it all ways on free parking’ –Grant Davey
In the latest ‘twist’ on Berwick car parking charges and their temporary ‘lifting’ for 7 days, Liberal Democrat Councillor Isabel Hunter seems to have got herself in a terrible twist.
First, her colleague and the newly christened ‘Cabinet Member for Car Parking, Morality and Responsibility, Councillor Andrew Tebbutt ( Sat 8 Dec) said the Tory motion which was supported by Labour to introduce ‘free car parking for Christmas’ was ‘immoral and irresponsible’. Leaving aside the view on the fairness’ of the current Liberal policy to charge the likes of Berwick, Hexham, Alnwick and Morpeth and not charge other areas, it seems levying a massive amount on the charged areas (between £1.95m and £5m depending on Councillor Tebbutt’s ‘figures’ for that day) is okay.
Secondly, only 48hrs later, Councillor Hunter was out welcoming ‘the relaxation of charges’ contradicting Councillor Tebbutt and official Lib Dem policy (if there is one).
Thirdly, she is now saying she doesn’t welcome the charges because she wasn’t at the meeting of the council where the motion was debated? She says ‘so Coun Davey’s claim that I back this so-called ‘free car parking plan’ is totally inaccurate’. She seems to have forgotten her position, in print, of only 72hrs ago.
The Berwick Advertiser said ‘Coun Hunter, member for Berwick West with Ord, welcomed the reduction in Berwick’s parking charges to put them in line with other market towns, as well as the removal of Sunday charges’.
So does she or doesn’t she back our ‘fair’s – fair’ campaign or does she think that it’s fair to ‘tax’ local businesses and residents with a car parking policy which says it’s okay for some parts of Northumberland to pay ‘ a tax on parking’ and others to get away with paying nothing’?
Labour group leader Grant Davey said
‘Clearly, the Liberals are split on car parking charges and Councillor Hunter’s position is unsustainable. She either welcomes free car parking or she doesn’t, she either agrees that this measure will help the local economy or she doesn’t and she either backs her Liberal colleague’s policy on car parking or she doesn’t? She can’t have it all ways. She needs to be honest with her residents and stop the ‘flip flop’.
Labour’s policy is crystal clear – we don’t think the Tory motion went far enough but it’s a start – we are committed to working with town and parish council’s to decide if their communities will benefit from free parking as part of a wider traffic management plan. Councillor Tebbutt, the man in charge of this policy has decided that the commitment is ‘immoral’. We disagree and a policy which ‘taxes’ some areas while not others is unfair. It’s time for the Liberal Democrats to come clean about their ‘stealth tax’ on Berwick, Morpeth, Hexham and Alnwick and it’s time for Councillor Hunter to level with the people and businesses of Berwick and tell them exactly why they should pay a ‘tax’ and others shouldn’t?
They say a week is a long time in politics – it clearly is for Councillor Hunter given her ‘forgetfulness’.