It’s pitiful to see that in the run in to yet another County Council budget the leader of Northumberland Tories Peter Jackson still bleating on in the Northumberland Gazette about the difference between the cost of services delivered in rural areas and the cost of those in the urban South East of the County.
For once he’s right, there is a cost difference, its almost three to one times higher to deliver services in the rural North and West as it is in the compact 4% of Northumberland’s land mass known as the old South East.
His bitter disappointment is that the Labour administration in County Hall is introducing new ways of working that will bring that gap down and he hates it.
We’ve extended the South East to facilitate this and brought in the residents of the rural coalfields into the urban model, were also developing a successful delivery model to overcome the difficulties of providing cost-effective support services across the most sparsely populated county in England. With 80% of Northumberland totally rural, having five different geographic characteristics and separate settlements with well developed distinctive characteristics and cultures. The model, were developing for the most rural areas, has proved replicable in all rural settings and most urban areas.
Councillor Jackson also cannot accept that Northumberland has been recognised as the most improved highways repair authority nationally when under his joint administrative watch with the Lib Dems they failed miserably to deliver a modicum of value from the Local Transport plan. He and his Lib Dem colleagues ignored potholes across the county leaving this Labour administration to clear 35,000 potholes in just 12 months.
For me, it’s a pity he won’t turn his efforts towards challenging his own Government to reduce the burden of cuts they’ve loaded onto Northumberlands residents and instead place an equal value on people from Alnwick as they do on those from Aylesbury but it looks like he’d rather keep trying to set communities that need each other against each other to hide the disgrace of his failure.