Appears value for money is less important

Last November, Cramlington Town Council agreed to consult with the residents regarding its budget proposals to ‘give local people a voice and involve them in decisions’. They didn’t.

The information they did make available was far from the trebling taxation that they voted in at the meeting in January.

At the meeting held on January 22 they stated that they considered the county council proposals very carefully. All of this confusing as they did not even involve, or consult part of the town council itself until the night of the vote when the information was sprung upon them 30 minutes beforehand.

At the ‘consultation’ meeting that was – or wasn’t – they denied that there was to be a contract with the county council, but that it was only to be an ‘agreement’ at £120,000 per year for the next five years.

This play on words means that they did not have to put the work out to tender as per their own council regulations to find the best value for money for the taxpayer.

Checking the dictionary meaning of contract you wouldn’t be surprised at the findings.

The January ‘vote’ saw the leading Labour group state that the increased cost was only 70p per week – only the price of a pint of milk.

When you talk about value for money, and counting costs, I for one know that I can buy almost three pints for my 70p. But I suppose if you are using the public purse, as Labour has demonstrated in the past, then value for money is less important, and they are quite comfortable to pay 70p a pint when it is your money.

So how much over-the-odds are they paying their own county council for this work to be done?

This doesn’t even take into account that their maths itself doesn’t add up.

From a campaign of ‘opposing the plans to increase the town council tax’ last year, to imposing the largest increase this area has ever known, trebling your current precept charge, takes some beating.

So while most of us work towards balancing the books and recovering from previous poor decisions and mismanagement, Labour is setting out again to try and prove that the best way to save money is to spend more of your money on equipment and spend more of your money on increasing staffing levels and costs? Sounds familiar.

But of course they’ll have you believe that it’s all the fault of the government.

Mark Swinburn

Cramlington