Letter - Council ducked the vote on council tax

In his letter to the Express Mr Ayre a self-confessed Labour activist, has put forward the platform that our MP will use to fight for her seat in the General Election in 2015.

In his letter in the space above our MP’s Politically Speaking column, he talks about his impressions of austerity and a sense of dismay at the reductions that Wakefield Council has faced in the supply of taxpayers money for the council to use up on its activities.

Labour-controlled Wakefield Council has been one of the long-standing big Labour Projects and, with expenditure still in excess of half a billion pounds a year, has played its part in the Labour tax and spend approach that partly created the grief that we as a nation have been facing.

He talks of cuts but completely ignores the simple fact that most councils, including a number of local Labour ones, have frozen their council tax. While they could have adopted our freeze proposal, Wakefield’s tax hike sits just below the threshold for a referendum, which would have allowed the public to decide if it should go ahead, but cynically they ducked that.

How are other councils managing? Well for one thing they have been looking at how they provide services, working to do things in new ways, taking opportunities to work smarter wherever they can.

The Leader of Wakefield Council acknowledged years ago that things would have to change, they set up a catalyst council scheme to help the process but, instead, used it as a platform to criticise the government’s lack of understanding that the “Wakefield way”, the grand 40-year experiment should continue on its path.

Insufficient action by WMDC then and the hope of a future Labour government turning the taps back on to drain the money supply again seems to be their preferred way forward.

Interestingly, they have repeated their 40 year-old habit of dipping into taxpayers’ pockets to take more money when the numbers do not add up.

Mr Ayre talks about the concerns that he has heard of from people over recent times. He does not seem to have met the people that I have spoken with who have found it so difficult to live through his party’s costly initiatives in this part of the world.

For many, the local election this May is about what the Labour-controlled council in Wakefield does or does not do for the people of Pontefract when they make their big decisions about our lives and our town.

Coun Geoff Walsh

Conservative Group Leader

Wakefield Council