Saturday, 23 March 2013

Reply from Scott Dickinson.Let's not forget that Labour have pledged FREE parking for all since 2008 it was in our manifesto then and remains so

Although it pains me to agree with Cllr Jackson I find myself doing it, he is absolutely right the voters in Northumberland will vote for a new administration at County Hall and will walk away from the Libdems who have been supported since 2008 by Conservatives. However if he seriously believes that people in Northumberland will choose the Conservative Party to form the administration at County Hall he is sadly mistaken.

Let's not forget that Labour have pledged FREE parking for all since 2008 it was in our manifesto then and remains so, the Conservatives are simply electioneering. It was only a few months ago he wanted every car user in Northumberland to be charged £15 and the sudden change in Conservative policy only shows they know Labour were right in 2008 and they know we are right now. Our strategy to boost Northumberland local economy and breath life into small Towns across the County is the right move for Northumberland, lets get Northumberland people using Northumberland Towns.

The only real alternative to what Northumberland have had for the last 5yrs is a Labour Administration, he knows it, we know it but most importantly the public know that too. Labours priorities for the County Council are the public’s priorities for the County, people want a Council to be proud of, a council that takes action, that serves them well and most importantly that listens and reacts to the need of local people. On May the 4th when the result is known and Labour introduces it's Administration team people across Northumberland will breath a sign of relief as will I.


Tories target County Hall with free parking pledge
Berwick  Advertiser

Conservative Councillor Peter Jackson

Published on Friday 22 March 2013 14:51
The Conservative Party may be having a rough ride at a national level but at a local level confidence is high ahead of the council elections on May 2.
Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland Conservatives, believes voters will be seeking an alternative to the current Liberal Democrat administration.
“There is a strong feeling of frustration with the past four years at the county council,” said Coun Jackson on a visit to Berwick to launch the party’s election manifesto.
“It’s been characterised by drift and a lack of direction.
“I think if you asked people right across Northumberland what purpose it’s had and what difference it has had to their lives they would probably say very little.”
He is not unduly worried by the party’s unpopularity at a national level at the moment.
“The reality in Northumberland is that it’s a fight between the Conservatives and Lib Dems,” explained Coun Jackson. “I believe the current Lib Dem administration will be held responsible for the council’s problems when residents make their vote on May 2.”
They have formed their priority list after undertaking a survey of 10,000 residents.
Free parking, tackling potholes properly and controls on wind turbine applications featured prominently in wish-lists.
Coun Jackson said: “We all know that Northumberland is a fantastic place to live but there are problems that need tackling, particularly here in Berwick.”


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Councils have been handed some of the deepest cuts in the public sector. Local Authorities have seen their budgets cut by 33% in comparison to 8% to Whitehall departments. Further cuts to local government would only shift costs to other services leading to higher long-term costs in healthcare, education and prison services.

Dear Chancellor,
Your Government's efforts to deal with the deficit so far have been focussed on cutting public spending. This has meant that since 2010 1,500 Fire fighters have lost their jobs, over 300 libraries and 400 Sure Start centres have closed, police numbers have been reduced by over 6,000 and there are 5,000 less nurses. We are seeing a rise in people relying on food banks which is a sign that people are facing high levels of economic and social distress. 
We believe that you should invest in growth. Local Government is the only part of the public sector that is helping the economy grow, by providing infrastructure investment and supporting local businesses. Allowing local government to borrow against its assets will enable local government to invest in building houses creating much needed jobs
Councils have been handed some of the deepest cuts in the public sector. Local Authorities have seen their budgets cut by 33% in comparison to 8%  to Whitehall departments. Further cuts to local government would only shift costs to other services leading to higher long-term costs in healthcare, education and prison services.
We believe that you face a clear choice, rather than hitting front line services, this Budget  presents the opportunity to pool funding across public agencies. It would save taxpayers up to £4 billion each year. We are offering to help deliver this policy.
At a time of increased unemployment, the nation's safety net has been cut. The Bedroom Tax, council tax benefit cut and other cuts will mean that many people will struggle to keep their heads above water.
We believe that you should support those who are being hit hardest by the economic downturn. Scrapping the bedroom tax and looking again at the costs to families of all the benefit changes should be a priority before giving a tax cut to the richest.
As Chancellor you are in a position to get our economy back on track, by freeing up local government to drive local growth by reforming services and by making sure that those with the broadest shoulders carry the heaviest load.

Alternative suggestions for a happier Budget day.

Alternative suggestions for a happier Budget day.

The Guardian

The government's efforts to deal with the deficit so far have focused on cutting public spending (Budget 2013, 19 March). Since 2010, 1,500 fire fighters have lost their jobs; over 300 libraries and 400 Sure Start centres have closed; police numbers have been reduced by over 6,000 and there are 5,000 fewer nurses. The rise in people relying on food banks is a clear sign that many are facing high levels of economic and social distress.
We believe the government should invest in growth. Local government is demonstrating its ability to drive growth by providing infrastructure investment and supporting local businesses. Allowing local government to borrow in line with prudential rules will enable us to invest in building houses and create desperately needed jobs. Councils have been handed some of the deepest cuts in the public sector. Local authorities have seen their budgets cut by 33% in comparison to 8% across Whitehall departments. Further cuts to local government would only shift costs to other public services leading to more budget pressures overall on healthcare, policing and prison services. We believe the chancellor faces a clear choice. Rather than hitting frontline services, this budget presents an opportunity to pool funding across public agencies and could save taxpayers up to £4bn each year. We are offering help to deliver this policy.
At a time of increased unemployment, the nation's safety net has been seriously compromised. The bedroom tax, council-tax benefit reductions and other cuts will mean that many people will struggle to keep their heads above water. We believe support should be given to those who are being hit hardest by the economic downturn. Scrapping the bedroom tax and looking again at the costs to families of all the benefit changes should be a priority before giving tax cuts to the richest people in the country.
Cllr Albert Bore Leader, Birmingham council, Cllr Sarah Hayward Leader, Camden council, Cllr Mehboob Khan Leader, Kirklees Metropolitan Council and 139 other Labour council leaders, mayors and Labour group leaders
Full list at http://www.local.gov.uk/web/lgalabour/home/-/journal_content/56/12197/3922631/article-template
• Richard Brooks is correct to say that while the government is trying to be seen to be tackling tax avoidance, ministers instead are introducing policies to ensure companies pay less tax (The great tax avoidance swindle, 18 March). The government has already been criticised by the Lords for not being clear that its proposals for a general anti-abuse rule, to be included in the budget, will have little or no impact on companies like Amazon and Starbucks.
Worse, our research has revealed that the proposed measure would give a green light for companies to avoid billions in tax, by only targeting the very fringes of what is now considered to be legal. If the chancellor is serious about tackling the moral repugnance of tax avoidance, he should launch an anti-avoidance principle, aimed at eliminating corporate tax avoidance. Our analysis shows this simple move alone could recover up to £5.5bn lost to the public purse by tax avoidance every year.
Murray Worthy
Senior campaigns officer, War on Want

• In a delicious irony, the UN has designated today the first International Day of Happiness.
Mike Collins
Bath

LABOUR WILL BACK NORTHUMBERLAND’S HARD PRESSED ECONOMY

LABOUR WILL BACK NORTHUMBERLAND’S HARD PRESSED ECONOMY
‘Labour’s plans will boost Northumberland jobs and businesses’ - Davey
Labour have unveiled a ‘We’re backing Northumberland’ pledge to act decisively to boost the economy across the county setting out plans to
·        Scrap the unfair ‘car parking tax’ levied on some towns across Northumberland which is sucking up to £5m from the local economy
·        Ensure the Labour pledge to build at least 1300 affordable homes includes a ‘presumption to buy local’ which will protect up to 3000 local jobs keeping an estimated £60m circulating within the local economy.
·        Modernise council services with a pledge to strengthen ‘in house’ service delivery and to protect local public sector jobs which benefit the local economy
·        Ensure the ‘public service drain’ is halted where the authority is ‘centralising’ services and work with local Town Council’s to develop ‘local service hubs’ breathing life back into Northumberland’s towns such as Ashington, Blyth Hexham, Berwick and Morpeth
·        Set up a ‘Rural Business’ sub-committee which will have powers to draw up a ‘Rural Action Plan’ to tackle the problems faced by important rural businesses such as the farming sector and to tackle rural poverty at source
·        Roll out plans to create at least 100 new apprenticeships per year linked to the 1300 affordable homes pledge for the four years of the house building programme
·        Set up a dedicated and funded arms-length body to promote Northumberland’s Tourist Industry across the country and internationally.
Labour’s plan will concentrate council resources on strengthening rural and urban economies such as promoting the ‘spin off’ opportunities with their top pledge to build at least 1300 affordable homes such as using ‘smart procurement’.
Labour is also pledging to halt Liberal plans to privatise council services. Labour will work with Town Councils to re-introduce essential council services in towns across the county where ‘the council has deserted its post’.
There are also plans to create two new bodies which would be tasked with supporting rural businesses such as farming and the burgeoning renewables industry.
Labour group leader Grant Davey, speaking on behalf of Labour’s county council candidates said
‘We’ve had a Liberal council propped up by Conservative votes since 2008 which has decimated council services and stood by while Northumberland’s economy has struggled.
We’ve been subjected to a parking tax which has sucked £5m out of the economy of Berwick, Hexham, Morpeth and Alnwick; we’ve had a rush to prepare council services for privatisation and a complete lack of interest in supporting key rural industries like farming and tourism.
Our plans tackle this neglect and we’re keen to make sure that big council projects under a Labour administration will have a ‘presumption to buy local’. For example, our 1300 affordable home pledge will create at least 500 construction jobs along with 100 apprentices per year but we’ll move to make sure local firms get a fair crack in the procurement processes’.
Notes for Editors
·        We estimate a ‘smart procurement policy’ will support at least 3000 local jobs and will safeguard around £60m available to the local economy (Nomis)
·        The Rural Business committee will develop a Rural Business Action Plan and will have the long term aim of giving important industries like farming and renewable energy a voice within council policy development. It is estimated that the rural businesses contribute £35m to the local, regional and national economy. The Rural Action Plan will seek to inform and shape the North East Rural Action Plan
·        Labour will stop plans to privatise council services which have already cost the council an estimated £1m in consultants fees alone. We will instead work with service areas to develop ‘in house’ service improvement plans which will give staff an important role in developing their own services.
·        Labour in Northumberland will take the lead on developing a new tourism promotion in the region to promote Northumberland as a destination of choice across the world. Tourism is worth an estimated £40m to the regional economy



Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Councillor Tebbutt criticises his own County Council, his own service plans and his own portfolio when he ‘predicts’ a battle of the bins in Morpeth.

Councillor Tebbutt criticises his own County Council, his own service plans and his own portfolio when he ‘predicts’ a battle of the bins in Morpeth.
Amazingly, Councillor Andrew Tebbutt has taken issue with himself over his own plan to ‘make the council more efficient’. His own officers have undertaken a ‘time and motion’ study which Councillor Tebbutt, the county councillor is disagreeing with himself as Councillor Tebbutt, the town councillor.
The outcome is Councillor Tebbutt the town councillor is writing to Councillor Tebbutt, the county councillor to ask himself to ‘listen to himself’.
We hope that he listens to himself and averts the predicted ‘battle of the bins’ in Morpeth and this just goes to prove local Liberals can start a battle with themselves.
Labour group leader Grant Davey said
‘The Liberals in County Hall have lost the plot. They’re now criticising themselves and their own policies in a desperate attempt to shift the blame for 5 years of disastrous decisions which have cost Northumberland dear. Councillor Tebbutt has pioneered the approach which he’s objecting to’

County officers have said that it currently takes five hours to empty the Morpeth bins twice a week and that if any other litter hotspots are identified a bin will have to be moved from elsewhere in the town, rather than putting in a new one.

Battle of the bins is looming for councils
Morpeth Herald
Published on Sunday 17 March 2013 07:00
A ROW over litter bins is brewing between two Northumberland councils.
The issue has come into focus after Morpeth Town Council was told 
there is no capacity from Northumberland County Council to collect 
rubbish from any new public bins in the town.
County officers have said that it currently takes five hours to empty the Morpeth bins twice a week and that if any other litter hotspots are identified a bin will have to be moved from elsewhere in the town, rather than putting in a new one.
The message was given to members of Morpeth Town Council’s Property and Asset Management Committee following a request from a resident for a new bin at the bus shelter at the bottom of St George’s Hill.
Members agreed that a bin is necessary, particularly as a new NHS ‘super-centre’ will soon open nearby, but before moving an existing bin they will raise the issue with health chiefs and the county authority.
Committee chairman Andrew Tebbutt said: “If a litter bin was there it would be used quite a bit and that site is going to become far more busy once the new health centre opens.
“There is a clear argument there.
“We should write to the county council and the health authority to ask what provision they are making for litter, bearing in mind what is happening with this new site.
“I presume there are lots of litter bins at the current Morpeth Cottage Hospital site.
“Before we say we will just find one of our bins to move, we need to raise the point that this is a completely different scenario happening there.”
He added: “The county council has a statutory responsibility to deal with litter.
“I suggest we ask the new neighbourhood and highways team manager to come and talk to us about litter collection in Morpeth because we are at capacity.
“We are prepared to put more bins in because we believe it is the right thing 
to do in order to keep Britain and Morpeth clear of litter as much as possible and we need to have a conversation about it.
“If it is taking five hours to empty the bins, then it is just going to have to take six hours.”

Town councillors Ian Ayres and David Vaughan worked with local residents to design the new facility.

£45,000 revamped playground to reopen

editorial image
A £45,000 project to refurbish a playground in Cramlington is nearing completion and will be opened in time for the Easter holidays.

The new playground at Norwich Way is part of a programme undertaken by Cramlington Town Council which has seen the refurbishment of play areas across the town, costing more than £180,000, funded by the town council, Northumberland County Council and the Big Lottery fund.
Town councillors Ian Ayres and David Vaughan worked with local residents to design the new facility.
Coun Ayres said: “When the town council took over playgrounds two years ago it was clear that they had suffered from years of neglect and under funding.
“Consequently many of the playgrounds were simply not used and repair and maintenance costs were a constant headache.
“The new facilities will provide first rate play facilities and significantly reduce our maintenance bill.
“Children’s play sites are being improved thanks to the town council decision to prioritise investment which is of vital importance to the development and health of our younger residents.
“We involved the local children and families in the design of the play park in Norwich Way, by working together we can ensure every resident is valued and listened to and be part of the decision making process.
“The consultation process gave parents and children the opportunity to decide what type of playground they wanted and I’m sure that everyone is pleased with what has been provided.
“For too long Cramlington has had to make do with second best but I and my town council colleagues are determined to make sure we have some of the best facilities in the county.
“The playground programme is just the first step.”
Playgrounds at Chichester Avenue, Majorie Street, Nelson Avenue, Eastfields and East Hartford have already been refurbished, the playground at Mainstone Close will be improved in the next few weeks and a new playground will also be provided at Clifton Road in the coming months.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Last night the council’s Labour group leader, Grant Davey, who represents Blyth, said: “Local people have been highly critical of Jeff Reid and he is not going to get away with this. I believe this comment could cost him his seat at the elections.”

Council leader Jeff Reid issues new apology for "Blyth is a dump" remark
by David Black, The Journal
18 March 2013
AN embattled council boss who described his home town as “a dump” has repeated his sincere apology for the gaffe – but says some people have told him he was right.
Jeff Reid, Liberal Democrat leader of Northumberland County Council, sparked an outcry two weeks ago after making his comment about Blyth during a business forum meeting in Hexham.

Coun Reid – who represents the Blyth Plessey ward – said: “I live in Blyth, and Blyth is a dump, so I usually get in the car and go to Cramlington to shop.”
He admitted the comment had been a mistake, and said he had been trying to point out the differences in the quality of the retail experience in Blyth compared to Hexham.

Coun Reid faced an angry backlash in his home town from Labour politicians, shopkeepers and local people.
Now – two weeks on from the controversy blowing up – he has repeated his “wholehearted and genuine” apology for the remark, which he admits was “disrespectful” to the town where he has lived for more than 40 years.

However, he says the furore has not caused him to consider standing down as county council leader, a post he has held for almost five years.
Coun Reid said: “I said something very stupid, but it was about the retail experience in Hexham compared to Blyth. I used the wrong set of words.
“I have not considered resigning over it because everyone makes mistakes and does things they regret.
“I believe I have had five years of virtually unblemished record in terms of public statements, and have not said anything derogatory about anyone or anything. I have tried my best to promote the whole county.”

Coun Reid said he has had a mixed reaction to his comments, with some people labelling him a disgrace and saying he should resign, but others being supportive.
“Some people have contacted me to say that what I said was right, but that I should not have said it, or not used those words. I have started every conversation by admitting I should not have said what I did, but are people not allowed to make mistakes and sometimes say the wrong things in the heat of the moment?
“People are within their rights to criticise me, but they will either accept my apology or hold it against me forever.”
Coun Reid said the Lib Dem administration at County Hall has shown its commitment to improving Blyth by helping secure the multi-million pound investment in a new Morrisons store and supporting a revamp of the bus station and library area.

“We are doing all we can to help Blyth. I said a stupid thing which I regretted the second I said it, and I don’t even believe it to be true. To anyone who was offended I can only repeat that I wholeheartedly and genuinely apologise.”
Last night the council’s Labour group leader, Grant Davey, who represents Blyth, said: “Local people have been highly critical of Jeff Reid and he is not going to get away with this. I believe this comment could cost him his seat at the elections.”

Northumberland fares badly through the new classifications with 26% of the population income deprived and 23% employment deprived primarily people from the South East of the County. This has grown steadily since 2008 a lot of it through the Council’s Liberal administration removing 1500 jobs since Local Government Review.”

Photograph of  WebbResolution Foundation Research Shows Economic Slowdown Worsening
The independent think tank, the Resolution Foundation has blown the Coalition Governments optimism that we are in recovery out of the water. They say that we are still 850,000 jobs short of restoring employment levels to pre-recession levels of 60.8% of the workforce in employment.
The number of people in employment has risen 160,000 since 2008 but the Country’s adult workforce population has grown by 1.7M, keeping us well into recession.
The Coalition Government through its Office of Budget Responsibility is predicting a population growth of 340,000 each year for the next five years making quality employment the biggest needs issue for families in Britain.

Northumberland Labour Group Spokesperson, Councillor Gordon Webb of Isabella Ward said:” Northumberland fares badly through the new classifications with 26% of the population income deprived and 23% employment deprived primarily people from the South East of the County. This has grown steadily since 2008 a lot of it through the Council’s Liberal administration removing 1500 jobs since Local Government Review.”

Northumberland Council rejects Labour claim over bedroom tax impact

by David Black, The Journal

Mar 18 2013

Bedroom tax protest (demonstration) at Grey's Monument, Newcastle
WARRING political parties are in dispute over the impact of the so-called bedroom tax in a rural county.
Labour has accused Liberal Democrat-run Northumberland County Council of “losing” 1,825 households in its calculation of how many will be affected by the looming change to the welfare system.
The council says the reform – which reduces the amount of benefit paid to council and housing association tenants with one or more spare bedrooms in their home – will affect 3,397 households in Northumberland.
But Labour says figures released by the National Housing Federation (NHF) suggest the actual number of affected households is 5,222.
The council insisted its data is correct and says it will be asking the NHF to explain how it arrived at its figures.
The Coalition Government’s welfare reform means tenants face a 14% benefit cut if they have one extra bedroom and a 25% reduction for two or more extra bedrooms.
Labour members in Northumberland say the NHF figures suggest there is a “black hole” in the authority’s calculations on the impact of the changes.

Labour leader Grant Davey said: “The council has lost 1,825 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?
“Leader 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.”
The NHF figures suggest that 1,355 households in Wansbeck will be affected by the bedroom tax, 1,335 in Berwick, 1,321 in Blyth Valley and 1,211 in Hexham.
The Federation says these are estimates, based on Department for Work and Pensions’ regional data, which assume the same proportion of tenants affected locally as regionally.
Coun Reid said the local authority was in the best position to calculate the true figure for households affected. “Given a choice between believing our finance director and a random national organisation, I would go with our officers every time.”
A council spokesman said: “In line with DWP guidance, we rely on the information given to us by landlords. We have also cross-checked our data with the housing associations, and no significant issues have been identified. To ensure our data is correct, and that any reduction is correctly applied, we have also written directly to affected tenants informing them of our classification of their property size.
“We have asked them to contact us should our information be incorrect.”
ANTI-TAX PROTESTS
HUNDREDS of protestors against the Government’s "bedroom tax" marched through Newcastle and Durham at the weekend.
The marches, which saw people armed with banners and posters, were organised by think tank Labour Left and trade unionists, along with anti-cuts group the Tyne and Wear Coalition of Resistance (TWCR).
Tony Dowling, chair of the TWCR, said: "Bedroom tax is another attack on ordinary people by the Government.
"Instead of dealing with the bankers and tax cheats, they’re picking on ordinary people. We have to stand united against it.
"Austerity isn’t working, they’re just leading us into a triple-dip recession. Instead, we need a vast investment in social housing. The Government shouldn’t be targeting the vulnerable, the disabled, single mothers and the elderly and the like.
"Bedroom tax, like most of the cuts, has a particular affect in the North East. It’s more detrimental here that in other parts of the country." The new charges are due to come into force in April.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Northumberland Labour County Council Candidate for Druridge Bay Ward Scott Dickinson said

Northumberland Labour County Council Candidate for Druridge Bay Ward Scott Dickinson said: “We can’t trust Northumberland Tories to safely manage our economy or help those in greatest need in Northumberland. They have simply taken Labour’s ideas and are trying to sell them as their own. It isn’t twelve moths since their place was for £15 per car per annum ‘free parking’ across the whole of the County. This latest pledge is just Councillor Jackson lips blowing in the wind.”

It was nice to see the pledges from Peter Jackson in last weeks press, but of course everything he touches seems to turn into dust.

IN RESPONSE TO P JACKSONS STATEMENTS

It was nice to see the pledges from Peter Jackson in last weeks press, but of course everything he touches seems to turn into dust.

A week after the Council budget Berwick conservatives floated this promise 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 that the budget which went through included the removal of the discount on second homes saving 175 jobs.

Peter Jackson on budget day put forward the Tory plan to introduce performance related pay for some employees, after the Council has had to spend tens of millions introducing a national agreement on equality and equal pay (Single Status)due to some peoples pay having performance related bonuses attached.

In his News article last week he is pledging 'new money' for highways repairs, by abstaining on the budget vote his team almost missed £6M of real 'New Money' for road repairs.

He is still spouting on about Wind Turbine regulations, something he didn't take any notice of when he applied twice to place some on his own land than lied about it.

He also still has to come clean about whether his team have agreed consensus opinion of planning matters surrounding Opencast and Wind Turbine planning applications, Northumberland's working population and commercial enterprise such as UK Coal and Border Wind need to know if Northumberland Tories wish to cut business off from expansion?

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.

Labour Group will also introduce free parking but wish to harvest local knowledge and work with Town and Parish Councils to ensure everyones views are taken into consideration.



Labour is aware of the diverse levels of wealth and poverty across Northumberland and how poverty is increasing through the Coalition Governments cuts and austerity measures. Labour also understands how easily approximately two thirds of its population can travel into the Tyne and Wear conurbation or Carlisle to spend. We want to keep our communities sustainable and increase tourism and trade from the conurbation. One of the ways to achieve this is free parking for all. We believe this is an income cut worth taking to assist Northumberland.
 Approximately half of Northumberland’s population live in the South East of the County with its mixture of all day free or two hour limited parking.



We will of course ask Town and Parish Councils to produce local parking plans. We will urge Parish Councils to come up with innovative solutions that see parking charges as a last resort, not the easiest fix.



Northumberland has a rapidly aging mobile population who can shop from Monday to Friday and it should be possible for some areas to remove or time limit parking on those days when pressure on space is reduced, or to produce seasonal parking plans that reflect the ebb and flow of tourist traffic in most our beautiful towns and villages.
Council has evidence that removing charges can increase casual retail trade in rural towns by two thirds we want local businesses to benefit from those changes.



Northumberland Labour County Council Candidate for Druridge Bay Ward Scott Dickinson said: “We can’t trust Northumberland Tories to safely manage our economy or help those in greatest need in Northumberland. They have simply taken Labour’s ideas and are trying to sell them as their own. It isn’t twelve moths since their place was for £15 per car per annum ‘free parking’ across the whole of the County. This latest pledge is just Councillor Jackson lips blowing in the wind.”

Northumberland Labour Councillor for Cowpen Ward, Susan Davey said. "I am very supportive of both foster carers and armed forces parents being made exempt from this tax.

Northumberland Tory MP Guy Opperman has come out in the press this week stating that a huge sum of money is available to support discretionary relief for Bedroom Tax victims in Northumberland.

Northumberland County Council did receive notification that £415,000 would be made available to help those worst hit by the Tax on people claiming housing benefit for having a spare bedroom.  The County Council is currently in dispute over figures with the National Housing Federation about the number of benefit claimants affected across the County with Northumberland saying they have 3,379 victimised families whilst the NHF say there are 5,222. Using the Councils figures the Bedroom Tax in Northumberland is worth approximately £4,000 per week.

On 12th March the Coalition Government decided to make foster carers and armed forces personnel exempt from the tax. People who are approved foster carers will be allowed an additional room, whether or not a child has been placed with them or they are between placements, so long as they have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months and Adult children who are in the Armed Forces but who continue to live with parents will be treated as continuing to live at home, even when deployed on operations.

 

Councils were immediately written to by the Government to say that costs for this group of claimants will be removed from the support grant. Northumberland Labour Group believe that because the County is an exemplar for military recruitment and has high numbers of foster carers the assistance fund will disappear.

Northumberland Labour Councillor for Cowpen Ward, Susan Davey said. "I am very supportive of both foster carers and armed forces parents being made exempt from this tax. Both groups have enough pressure on them without the worry of being forced onto the streets, but as one of the Labour Councillors for Northumberland's largest Council and social housing areas, Cowpen/Kitty Brewster I was hoping that some level of support for victims of this unscrupulous tax would be available.

This is a prime example of what the Liberal Democrats voting with the Tories in Parliament can do to ordinary people here in Northumberland. Its 257 miles or 413Km from Cowpen to Parliament yet we can feel the hot destructive breath lashed by the forked tongues of both Cameron and Clegg wafting through the streets of our County."