Friday, 8 March 2013

BERWICK CONSERVATIVES WANT TO PAY OFF 175 STAFF TO FUND COUNCIL HOUSING.

BERWICK CONSERVATIVES WANT TO PAY OFF 175 STAFF TO FUND COUNCIL HOUSING.
Berwick Conservatives confusion on saving jobs and building homes, pledge made that simply doesn't add up following council budget.
Its often been said that Berwick Conservatives and their party members in the west and south of the County don't speak to each other, but its now noticeable that those Tories in office who attended last months budget meeting either didn't read the papers issued by Northumberland's Treasurer or didn't send a copy over to their mates in the North.

The power struggle between members of Northumberland Tory Group is quite famous in political circles, but missing out their Golden Girl, Anne Marie Trevelyan and allowing a gaff of the first order to be made in her name is a political tragedy.

Last week, Berwick Conservatives floated a new pledge on their web-site 'End the council tax discount on second homes and invest all of the money raised in tax on second homes in a  new generation of council housing for local families. It is unfair that people with two homes get a tax break when so many people cannot afford their first home.' It seems a decent pledge, take the £4M from second home Council Tax Discounts and spend it building Council Houses, except those who don't talk to them forgot to tell Anne Marie that the budget which went through included the removal of the discount on second homes saving 175 jobs.

Northumberland Labour Group have worked up a plan to develop 1300 Affordable, Social and Intermediate homes over the next four years and have a program in place that doesn't rely on paying off staff or attacking their national terms and conditions. It will also kickstart Northumberland economy creating 500 Jobs in the construction sector, offer the opportunity for craft apprenticeships and safeguard 3000 jobs in the supply and retail sector.

Northumberland Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said "It doesn't surprise me that Northumberland's Tory Group don't share their information party wide, they are so busy fighting each other that they don't appear to have the energy needed to do anything but lose the next election."


Notes to editors

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Labour party in Northumberland have uncovered a ‘major black hole’ as the Liberal run administration in County Hall struggle to come to terms with the impact of the so called ‘bedroom tax’. Figures show that families will face penalties of £496 per year for 14% ‘under occupancy’ by one bedroom and a whopping 25%, £886 per year for those who ‘under occupy’ by two bedrooms

Labour brands ‘bedroom tax’ in county ‘chaotic and unfair’
‘Council has ‘lost’ 1825 families hit by ‘bedroom tax’ – Grant Davey
The Labour party in Northumberland have uncovered a ‘major black hole’ as the Liberal run administration in County Hall struggle to come to terms with the impact of the so called ‘bedroom tax’. Figures show that families will face penalties of £496 per year for 14% ‘under occupancy’ by one bedroom and a whopping 25%, £886 per year for those who ‘under occupy’ by two bedrooms
The ‘tax’ brought in by the coalition government to tackle ‘under occupancy’ has been branded as ‘a chaotic and unfair tax on struggling families’ by Labour in Northumberland.
The council estimated the ‘charge’ would hit 3,397 families across Northumberland but Labour has uncovered a ‘hidden group’ who the council didn’t know existed. Figures released by the National Housing Federation show that the actual figure impacted by the bedroom tax is 5,222.
The council now face accusations that ‘they’ve lost control and have seriously underestimated the impact of the tax on Northumberland’.
The storm over the impact of the tax also extends to the lack of affordable housing available in the county as the council also acknowledged in its Housing Needs Survey that it would need to build 240 homes every year for decades to meet the need for affordable housing.
Labour are demanding council leader Jeff Reid makes a statement clarifying the true council’s true position on the impact of the bedroom tax and its impact on the recently agreed council budget.
Labour group leader Grant Davey said
‘The council has ‘lost’ 1825 families while it has been preparing for the impact of the bedroom tax. How can we have confidence that the council is ready for the ‘tsunami of misery’ unleashed by this regressive tax? Jeff Reid needs to get a grip on his council and come clean about the true impact of this raid on the living standards of people living in social housing’.   
Notes to Editors
Attached letter to Ronnie Campbell MP which gives the number affected by the ‘under occupancy’ charge as 3,397 across Northumberland
Source: See attached letter
Research for NHF shows that in
1.    Wansbeck – 1355 households will be affected
2.    Blyth – 1321 households will be affected
3.    Berwick – 1335 households will be affected
4.    Hexham – 1211 households will be affected
Total affected – 5,222



Housing concerns: Scott Dickinson in Hadston.

Funding for youth services

Housing concerns: Scott Dickinson in Hadston. Housing concerns: Scott Dickinson in Hadston.
A village facility has secured important funding to help support the young people it serves.
Hadston House and Community Projects has been awarded money to allow its successful breakfast club to continue after a trial period.
On top of this, cash has come from the Community Foundation to run creative art and graffiti workshops.
Project leader Scott Dickinson said he was delighted with the news. The funding for the breakfast club will allow the centre to subsidise the costs involved and employ the staff needed to supervise the children in the mornings.
Scott said: “It is clear that the breakfast club had wider benefits such as improved learning and behaviours during the school day so we are happy to be able to continue this.”
The centre’s cafĂ© has a new cook who will be delivering the breakfast club and running the rest of the project’s food outlet.
The art/graffiti sessions will start shortly and will be free to attend. Spaces will be limited so it is advised to let the centre know early.
Funding has also been received for transport and subsidy costs for activities during holiday periods. The centre also helps people aged 16 and over with employability skills. Visit www.hadstonhouse.co.uk

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Opinion of a Resident of Blyth in the Journal

The Opinion of a Resident of Blyth

As a local community worker based in Blyth and a resident, I am appalled at Councillor Jeff Reids' comments stating ‘Blyth is a dump’. 

Why on earth does this man represent the people of Blyth when he thinks like this. Not only does he represent our community, he is also Leader of our Council a position he has held for almost five years why hasn't he done something for the town if he believes this statement. He gets paid a generous amount and has had ample time to do something about it. People like him should not represent our community any more. 

I was born and bred in Blyth, I'm proud of my town and I work extremely hard to try a make the community a better place. For those who do live here. We have a good park, a pleasant beach, good cycle tracks, yet he deems this unworthy for himself.

Last week there was a Winter Festival held in Ridley Park which was a phenomenal success. Hundreds attended and this is just one of the many positive events Blyth holds regularly. We have good community centres, a sports centre, good provision for young people; this provision however has diminished under the current Lib Dem leadership of the council County with an unfair spread of cuts to certain areas and some of these amenities are only there thanks to the kind hearted community members of Blyth.

Throughout Jeff Reids reign, it’s not only the cuts for young people that have affected the Town but the elderly and vulnerable have also been hit hard. 

Jeff Reids was brought into power to represent the people of Blyth and paid a healthy sum to do so, however with comments like this it just shows how disloyal and undeserving of this position he is. He is an insult to the people of Blyth and an embarrassment to the town, he should resign and let someone do the job he should have been doing himself for the past five years. 

Resident of Blyth Eileen Cartie

People of Blyth hit back at comments made by councillor Jeff Reid

People of Blyth hit back at comments made by councillor Jeff Reid
by Kate Proctor, The Journal

Hazel Ross, owner of Dottie's Deli in Blyth
PEOPLE in a town described by a council leader as a “dump” have told of their civic pride.
Jeff Reid, leader of Northumberland County Council and representative for Blyth’s Plessey ward, provoked uproar when he criticised the town during a meeting and said he prefers to do his shopping in nearby Cramlington.
The Liberal Democrat has since apologised and has admitted his words had been a “mistake”.
But for many people who have lived in the town all their lives, Mr Reid’s comments come too late.
Mandy Lyall, who works at the Quayside Cafe on Plessey Road, said: “We’ve got a lovely quay and beach. And a lovely park and great people. He should be positive, not putting people off.”
Grandmother Dorothy Thompson, who works at Coastline Fish & Chips at South Beach, said in the summer the cafe is heaving with customers and is an example of how successful businesses in Blyth can be.
She said: “That place has expanded three times and I’ve been with it since the beginning, and it’s always busy. It’s just annoying for people who’ve lived here for ages and can see the town is dying to be re-developed to have it knocked down again by the people who should be doing the opposite.

“If people keep putting it down then that’s the reputation Blyth will get. The cafe is living proof that businesses can flourish here if people put time and money into them.”
Those with businesses at the market and at nearby shops believe efforts should be made by local authorities to lower rates and rents.
Hazel Ross, owner of Dottie’s Deli on Regent Street, said: “I think it’s a disgrace what he’s said about the town. People are dying to open businesses and get people in, and I feel he’s doing nothing to improve the market either.
“It’s gone downhill and I think they should be getting free ground rent to help out the people working there.
“We want more people in Blyth because we’re a small business and it’s hard enough. We couldn’t even get a grant to open our business in the first place.”
Co-worker Michelle Wilkins said it is Blyth’s “loyal” residents who give the town its atmosphere.
She said: “The whole community is so loyal to the town centre.”
Shopper Vivienne Frost said the decision not to replace the market with an indoor one was a mistake in efforts to boost trade.
In 2008, the then Blyth Valley Borough Council oversaw a £3m facelift of the market retaining its outdoor space with new paving, lighting and seating.
She said: “Blyth’s not a bad place to live and I’ve lived here all my life. There’s a lot of empty shops, fair enough, but those comments have everyone talking.”

Councillor Davey said: “I’m disappointed but not surprised that the taxi drivers haven’t heard back from Council. In my opinion this shows how the Coalition between the Liberals and the Tories running scrutiny is failing the people of Northumberland. This is why the Labour group is demanding an independent investigation into why a petition of 1500 names has been ignored and why a council committee chaired by Councillor Castle hasn’t saw fit to act on public concerns about public safety’

PRESS RELEASE
LABOUR CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION AS TAXI LICENSING IS BRANDED ‘CHAOTIC’
Concerns raised as concerns about legality of licensing scheme are ignored
Questions are being raised about the ‘fitness for purpose of Northumberland County Council’s Taxi Licensing regime’ after whistleblowers lodged concerns and a petition nearly a year ago. The petition and concerns were based on the county payments scheme and alleged unequal and discriminatory way the licensing scheme was being applied. The council is coming under increased pressure to review its licensing scheme which still relies on practices inherited from the disbanded district council’s and allegations tabled when the 1500 name petition was submitted alleged the council was ‘turning a blind eye to licences which had expired’ and that its fees and charges scheme was potentially unlawful because of the stipulations it insisted on such as the requirement to renew (and pay) every year when other professions were only required to renew every three years.
The petition was lodged with the council’s Economic Prosperity and Overview Services committee in April 2012, which is chaired by Coun Gordon Castle which agreed to look at the issue and report back. So far it has failed to do so.
Councillor Davey said: “I’m disappointed but not surprised that the taxi drivers haven’t heard back from Council. In my opinion this shows how the Coalition between the Liberals and the Tories running scrutiny is failing the people of Northumberland. This is why the Labour group is demanding an independent investigation into why a petition of 1500 names has been ignored and why a council committee chaired by Councillor Castle hasn’t saw fit to act on public concerns about public safety’.  
 Notes for Editors
In April 2012 Northumberland Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers put forward a petition to Northumberland County Council to have their licensing and payments scheme investigated and the unequal and discriminatory nature of its application resolved.

A 1500 name petition was submitted to full Council by two Taxi drivers, Mr David Walls and Mr Malcolm Skinner.
Mr David Walls spoke on behalf of the petitioners and highlighted a number of concerns which included:-
• The County Council had inherited a situation which should not have been allowed to continue after LGR.
• Licences issued by Berwick upon Tweed Borough Council should have expired some time ago but were still in existence.
• Licences in the former Blyth Valley area had increased from 47 to 350+.
• The charge being levied to change from private hire to hackney carriage was unfair.
• The requirement to pay the administration fee for a CRB check was unfair, as was the requirement to renew on an annual basis when other professions only had to renew every three years.
• The requirement for Group 2 medical standards was in breach of regulations.
• He urged the Council to review the whole fees and charges system.

Voters will decide if I stay or I go’ – Jeff Reid

Voters will decide if I stay or I go’ – Jeff Reid
A Question Time event taking place at Leading Link, St Benet Biscops High School with local politicians Ian Lavery, Wayne Daley, Alan Beith and Jeff Reid (pictured) with Colin Briggs from the BBC chairing the debate. Pupils Laura Taylor, Tom Bland and Charlie Bruce took part as well. A Question Time event taking place at Leading Link, St Benet Biscops High School with local politicians Ian Lavery, Wayne Daley, Alan Beith and Jeff Reid (pictured) with Colin Briggs from the BBC chairing the debate. Pupils Laura Taylor, Tom Bland and Charlie Bruce took part as well.
THE leader of Northumberland County Council says he apologises unreservedly for calling Blyth “a dump” but insists he will not resign over a “stupid” comment.

Plessey ward councillor Jeff Reid says the voters will decide whether he stays or goes come the May elections.
Coun Reid’s comments at a business forum in Hexham last week caused a storm of criticism from his political rivals as well as Blyth residents.
He was quoted as saying: “I live in Blyth and Blyth is a dump. I usually get in the car and go to Cramlington to shop.”
His comments came at a particularly sensitive time, coinciding with the decline of many businesses in Blyth town centre, including the closure last week of Woodcocks after 117 years’ trading.
Coun Reid has drawn furious criticism from his local MP, Ronnie Campbell, fellow county councillors and members of the public.
Responding to the criticism, he said he regretted the words as soon as he had said them.
Speaking to the News Post Leader this week, he said: “I’ve done a lot of thinking over the weekend and my family has lived in Blyth since the mid-1800s, probably well over 150 years. This is where I belong and a place I love.
“Sometimes you just get so passionate about things you get carried away. I said what I said and I instantly regretted it.
“We’ve got the elections in May, I guess people will be able to pass judgement then.
“In five years of being leader of the council I haven’t made many stupid mistakes. I’m not going to resign.
“I said something I shouldn’t have said.
“I was at a meeting in Hexham. I was talking about the relative prosperity of the two shopping centres.
“I was comparing the relative success of Hexham to the relative failure of Blyth.
“Instead of being clever and saying ‘this is Hexham, it’s doing relatively better than Blyth and we need to continue that effort and we’ve already got Morrisons and £650,000 environmental improvements including the new bus station’, I said what I said.
“The second I said it I thought ‘that is just ridiculous’. Sometimes in the heat of the moment you say the wrong things.
“I apologise unreservedly to anyone who was offended by what I said.”
Coun Vince Coils, of Croft ward, said on Monday that a five-minute walk to the shops had turned into a two-hour outing as traders and members of the public approached him about Coun Reid’s comments, and he is now calling for him to apologise to the shopkeepers in person.
“They are all up in arms,” he said.
“This hasn’t been their only problem and they are not pretending that Jeff Reid has caused all their difficulties, but they do feel that his apology has not been appropriate, or that there has been any close contact with them.”
Coun Deirdre Campbell, of Newsham ward, said: “I love living in Blyth. I’ve lived there for 47 years, I have been a councillor for 25 years and I wouldn’t move anywhere else.
“The people of Blyth are the most genuine, salt-of-the-earth people, and the amount of damage something like this can do. I’m so, so angry.
“Five years ago it was an up and coming little town. If it has become a dump, and these are his words, not mine, it’s been under his watch.”
“Blyth is not a dump,” MP Ronnie Campbell added.
“I was born here and I have always been proud of my town.
“Its greatest asset is its people, and they do not deserve Coun Reid’s outrageous slur.
“He is hammering the hard working people who are striving to make a go of their businesses and he is conveniently forgetting his five years as leader of the council, which has neglected Blyth.”

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Councillor Grant Davey, Labour’s Leader at Northumberland County Council, added:

Labour launches rural campaign to save the Agricultural Wages Board and guarantee workers wages in Northumberland

The House of Lords will be voting on Wednesday 6 March to scrap the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) as an amendment to the part of the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill.

The AWB gives a guaranteed level of wage over and above the national minimum wage. The abolition will affect 1790 workers in Northumberland and 3,360 across the North East region.

Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, today pledged to make rural wages a key part of Labour’s county council election campaign and is calling on the Government to drop plans to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board.
  
The Agricultural Wages Board sets fair pay levels for 152,000 fruit pickers and farm workers in England and Wales.  The Government’s impact assessment says that abolishing the pay board will take £260 million out of the rural economy over 10 years through lost holiday and sick pay.
 
Mary will be undertaking a rural tour of Britain to campaign to protect rural wages

Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary will say:

"The Tory-led Government's abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board will lead to lower wages for farm workers and take £260 million out of village high streets over ten years.

“David Cameron’s out of touch government has delivered a bitter blow to the rural economy and to thousands of low-paid farm workers who will be worried about their pay falling. We a need a One Nation plan for the countryside to tackle the rural cost of living crisis, protect buses and public services, and invest in rural jobs and growth."
Councillor Grant Davey, Labour’s Leader at Northumberland County Council, added:
“Once again The Government is failing to stand up for hard-working families. The Government's abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board is going to unfairly penalise farm workers here in Northumberland, affecting nearly 1800 agricultural workers and damaging the County’s local economy. The Tory-Lib Dem government needs to urgently rethink what they are doing and the House of Lords should vote against this unfair measure on Wednesday.”

ENDS

·         The Agricultural Wages Board protects pay levels and conditions for 152,000 rural workers in England and Wales.

English region
Total agricultural workers
North East
North West
Yorkshire and the Humber
East Midlands
West Midlands
East of England
South East and London
South West
3,360
12,260
12,560
15,550
18,390
24,270
29,810
23,460
England total
139,640
Wales
12,000



 Agricultural Wages Order from 1 October 2012

Weekly Pay
Hourly Pay

£/week
£/hour
Grade 1 of compulsory school age
-
3.11
Grade 1 above compulsory school age (farm labourer)
242.19
6.21
Grade 2
271.44
6.96
Grade 3
298.74
7.66
Grade 4
320.19
8.21
Grade 5
339.30
8.70
Grade 6  (farm manager)
366.60
9.40





Scott Dickinson, chairman of East Chevington Parish Council and company director at Hadston House youth and community project, has written to Arriva, plans to invite them to a meeting of the council and set up the petition.

Cut-off Hadston villagers try to get Arriva bus service restored
by Brian Daniel, The Journal

A NORTHUMBERLAND community which has been axed from a bus route is fighting to get the decision reversed.
People at Hadston, near Amble, have been left up in arms after bus company Arriva decided that a service which came into the village every day on an hourly basis would no longer do so.

The bus had been vital to people wanting to access health, childcare and community facilities, shops or visit friends.
Villagers have now contacted Arriva and set up a petition calling for the service to once again serve Hadston.

The number 20 from Amble to Ashington entered the village from the B1330, traveling along Hadston Road and Bondicar Road before turning round and continuing South via the B road.
However, as of February 3, the service no longer turns off the B1330, leaving a walk of half a mile from Hadston to the nearest stop the bus calls at.
The bus, which connects with the X20 onto Newcastle, was used by villagers wanting to go shopping at Ashington and Amble, visit friends or attend hospital appointments at Wansbeck General.
It was also used by people travelling into Hadston to use its doctors’ surgery, children’s centre, community cafe, shops and post office. Pensioner Joan Flanighan, 71, of Simonside Crescent, used the service two or three times a week and has no car.
Mrs Flanighan, a volunteer at the community cafe, said: “We have to walk up to the top of the road, which is maybe half a mile.
“But if you have shopping when you come home it is really heavy. It is up hill as well.
“There are quite a few people that can not manage to walk up to the top of the road. Some people are getting a taxi up to the top of the road which costs an extra £3.”
Scott Dickinson, chairman of East Chevington Parish Council and company director at Hadston House youth and community project, has written to Arriva, plans to invite them to a meeting of the council and set up the petition.
He said: “This is a clear example of a service being taken away without any consultation on the impact it would have.
“It has left people high and dry.”
Nick Knox, area managing director for Arriva North East, said changes to the service had been made “to improve reliability”.
“These changes will see us provide customers with a faster and more reliable service between Amble and Ashington, and on into Newcastle,” he added.
“Unfortunately, it does mean that the few passengers that were using the service in the Hadston Square area will no longer be directly served.”

PROUD shopkeepers, sea views, friendly folk... there’s nowhere better than Blyth.

Kate Proctor, Evening Chronicle
PROUD shopkeepers, sea views, friendly folk... there’s nowhere better than Blyth.
Residents outraged by comments that their town is “a dump” are fighting for its reputation and have told the Chronicle why they’re filled with civic pride.
Jeff Reid, leader of Northumberland County Council and representative for the town’s Plessey ward provoked uproar when he criticised the seaside spot during a meeting.
To add insult to injury, he then told how he prefers to do his shopping in nearby Cramlington.
The Liberal Democrat has since apologised for his comment and has admitted his words had been a “mistake”.
But it’s too little too late for some residents who feel their town has a lot to offer.
Mandy Lyall, who works at the Quayside Cafe on Plessey Road, said: “We’ve got a lovely quay and beach.

“And a lovely park and great people.
“He should be positive, not putting people off.”
THE MUMS
SUNNY days bring hundreds of people from across the region to Blyth’s beaches and it’s the perfect place for kids to play.
 
Mum of twin girls Tricia Armstrong, said: "The beach is great and I’ll always go for a walk around with the babies or to the harbour whether it’s the summer or the winter."
Friend Emma Gateshill said: "There’s a lot of really nice people living here too."
Dorothy Thompson, who works at Coastline Fish & Chips at South Beach, said that in the summer the cafe is heaving with customers and is an example of how successful businesses in Blyth can be. "That place has expanded three times and I’ve been with it since the beginning and it’s always busy," she said.
"It’s just annoying for people who’ve lived here for ages and can see the town is dying to be re-developed to have it knocked down again by the people who should be doing the opposite.
"If people keep putting it down then that’s the reputation Blyth will get. The cafe is living proof that businesses can flourish here if people put time and money into them.
BLYTH’S been good to market trader Ron Coleman for more than 30 years.
The 64-year-old stall holder takes up his spot four days a week and said he’ll continue into his 80s.
He said: "There are lovely people in Blyth. I’m not from here, but the town’s looked after me for 32 years and I’ve got no plans to go anywhere else." Second-hand stall holder Terence Wood, who’s helped out by his 12-year-old son Stanley, said: "Blyth is OK. There’s lovely chip shops and ice-cream parlours. It is hard for the market because there’s a lot of pound shops here." Young Stanley, who loves the town’s skate-park, said: "I think Blyth would be a better place if people looked after it more."
Alan Long, 64, of the Mobile Chef food van, said: "South Beach is the nicest area of town."
FLORIST Claire Hibbert believes Blyth needs some love and care from councillors to re-build its name.
"Ridley Park is lovely now it’s been refurbished, so it’s a disgrace to for Jeff Reid to make those comments. He’s supposed to be supporting Blyth and bringing people here," said the 37-year-old who works at Appleblossom on Regent Street.
Hazel Ross, 40, of neighbouring Dotties Deli loves the town for its people and nightlife.

She said: "Shops and market spaces are empty because rents and rates are high, but pubs and restaurants are a real draw."

Monday, 4 March 2013

Northumberland Lib Dems defend Jeff Reid after Blyth 'dump' comment

Northumberland Lib Dems defend Jeff Reid after Blyth 'dump' comment
by Brian Daniel, The Journal
Northumberland County Council leader Jeff Reid
A NORTH council leader who sparked an outrage by labelling his home town a “dump” has the backing of colleagues on the authority, one claimed last night.
Jeff Reid, leader of Northumberland County Council, caused anger in Blyth by telling a meeting he travels to Cramlington to shop as his town is a “dump.”
He faced calls to apologise to the people of Blyth and to consider whether he can continue to represent them. Coun Reid admitted his words had been a “mistake”.
Political opponents yesterday called on the Liberal Democrat councillor’s colleagues on the authority to state whether they “follow his line and support his views or they should disassociate themselves from him.”
In response, a fellow Lib Dem on the council has claimed his leader has his party’s backing.
Coun Ian Tompkins, member for Wensleydale and a town councillor, last night said: “Of course we are supporting him.
“In general what Jeff does and what he gets on and does is fine by me.

“He has apologised as I understand it, many times, many politicians make mistakes, it happens everywhere.”
Coun Tompkins, a former chairman of the county council, however, distanced himself from his leader’s comments.
“Blyth has got considerable problems, but it is not a dump, no.
“It is good place to live as I have shown here for living here over 40 years.”
He hit out at Coun Reid’s rivals for seeking to exploit his leader’s comments ahead of authority elections in May.
“The Labour Party, because the elections are coming up, are bound to make something of it, it does not mean to say they are going to win, they are just making a hoo-ha.”
Labour leader on the council Grant Davey, a fellow Blyth member, had earlier said: “Jeff Reid the Liberal Democrat leader has not shown any respect for the people of Blyth. We demand to know what his colleagues think on this subject and will be pressing them to come clean and voice their true opinions, they must now make the easy choice, support a man who has let down his constituents or reject him and show the people of Blyth that they’re not all like he is.”
Coun Reid, who represents Blyth’s Plessey ward, made the comments at a meeting of Hexham Business Forum.
He said: “I live in Blyth and Blyth is a dump so I usually get in the car and go to Cramlington to shop.”
He was accused of giving a snub to residents and traders by Labour’s Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell, Coun Davey and Peter Dodds, director at Woodcocks curtain shop in the town which has now closed.

Coun Reid said he had been trying to explain to the meeting the difficulties facing Blyth and admitted his choice of words had been “wrong.”

He insisted: “I love the place.”

He has apologised, many times, many politicians make mistakes, it happens everywhere

It was interesting to see LibDem Leader of Northumberland County Council Jeff Reids remarks about the Northumbria Police precept increase of 6p per week. Likening Police Commissioner Vera Bairds decision to a magician "pulling a rabbit out of a hat"He said he "struggled to freeze Council Tax increases for his Council" and he was bitterly disappointed that he wasn't part of her decision making.

Labour Supports The Thin Blue Line

It was interesting to see LibDem Leader of Northumberland County Council Jeff Reids remarks about the Northumbria Police precept increase of 6p per week. Likening Police Commissioner Vera Bairds decision to a magician "pulling a rabbit out of a hat"He said he "struggled to freeze Council Tax increases for his Council" and he was bitterly disappointed that he wasn't part of her decision making.

Northumberland Labour Group members cannot believe how pompous Jeff Reids statement is. Labour Group Deputy Leader Val Tyler said: "Jeff Reids LibDems simply took the bribe from Eric Pickles of £1.3M per annum for two years to freeze Council Tax in Northumberland that actually reduces the formula income £15M by 2014". "The year on year accumulation of Jeff Reids decision and Eric Pickles Kamakaze Local Government management techniques may eventually lead to its downfall. He has a financial stranglehold on Councils and he can't see their about to expire."

The Coalition Government made a decision to remove Councillors from Police Authorities in order to cheapen the service and replace them with Police and Crime Commissioners.

Northumberland Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said " My colleagues and I in Labour Group are not unhappy at paying an additional 6p per week to ensure we have the right number of cops and PCSO's out on our streets at all times to safeguard the public. Were very supportive of Vera Bairds stance on this matter and the weaknesses of the Home Office cuts plans are already beginning to show as poverty begins to bite among working class families driving up anti social behaviour and family finance problems. These problems lead onwards towards an increase in crime as we saw throughout the Thatcher era.
 It is our belief that Vera has produced the stitch in time because things will rapidly change once the bedroom tax and universal benefit along with other dreadful welfare reform issues hit families from this April. I will also remind Jeff Reid that when in opposition in Blyth Valley Council he regularly criticised 0% Council Tax rises because it reduced the opportunity to grow."