Steve Tulley’s stand is baffling

Coun Tulley is accusing WMDC of stealing £40,000 from South Elmsall council.

At a time when Wakefield Met is being forced by a Conservative-led government to hack £61million from its budget, his ‘stand’ seems particularly baffling.

His complaint – so far as I can understand it – is that Wakefield Met is withholding money intended for, among others, South Elmsall and South Kirkby/Moorthorpe councils.

This ‘stolen’ money was intended for local councils as recompense for not increasing their local precept.

As everybody knows, South Elmsall and Kirkby/Moorthorpe both increased their precepts last year, and although WMDC were within their rights to refuse, still awarded the grant.

So it seems strange that, instead of counting his luck, Coun Tulley is angry that South Elmsall won’t be receiving it again.

A ‘bare bones’ summary of South Elmsall’s accounts and expenditure over the past three years - all that’s available online – shows the local precept rising steadily since 2011.

This culminates (along with grants, balances and similarly undetailed amounts) in a total income of £536,559 for 2013, compared to a total income of £366,715 in 2011. Over £170,000 increase in two years, with every sign of an increase in 2014 as well.

Looking at these amounts, you have to wonder why the non-arrival of a £40,000 grant should cause such consternation, and why, after everything else WMDC has done and not done, this is the issue upon which Coun Tulley turns.

WMDC has done far worse. For years, our corner of the district has been little more than a dumping ground, with little consultation involved.

Our district council has long done what it likes, ignoring appeals, objections and common sense in pursuit of its own interests.

It makes extravagant promises, too, even with the prospect of £185m dropping out of the budget by 2020. A pool? Pull the other one.

The Express article on March 13 states ‘Coun Tulley… played a big part in getting a new pool for the south east’.

The pool is not here yet. Nobody has ‘played a big part’ in getting anything yet.

All those who raised objections to the recycling plant – or indeed, anybody who thinks Wakefield Met has ‘robbed’ our community of £40,000 – should know better than to believe anything they ever say again.

I am inclined to believe WMDC promised a new pool simply in order to safeguard its district councillors’ support this coming May.

The cuts forced on them by the Tories won’t allow room for a £7m expenditure until long after its Labour majority has been secured.

Steve Tulley’s suspension has exposed how elected councillors are ordered to toe the line or face retribution.

That nobody can abide by those strictures while representing the best interests of local voters, is a realization Mr Tulley has come late to.

It’s a pity the epiphany didn’t occur to him on September 18 last year, when he could have been suspended for striving to keep Minsthorpe Baths open, instead.

John Heyes

Beaumont Avenue

South Elmsall