Two years I have asked for figures

ONE of the biggest problems for the leader of a county council in making attacks on a parish councillor (News Post Leader, letters, September 22), is that the people of Northumberland can see through it.

Three years ago the county council voted – with the Liberal Democrats in minority control – to form the parish councils in Blyth Valley.

It was not through central government, this was done in April of 2009 with Coun Reid addressing the meeting at County Hall as to the need for the local councils in Blyth Valley.

This was after the abolition of Blyth Valley Borough Council.

Wansbeck parish councils were formed by central government.

As for providing services, he is quite right, we campaigned against cuts in Valley Care and we succeeded.

Possibly slight of hand and pen produces an absence of memory over the Liberal Democrats’ cuts in day care for the elderly and now for the disabled.

Coun Reid went on television one day to pledge he would reduce the dependency on council and public jobs, his deputy, Coun Roger Styring, went on television the next day in Wansbeck to state he didn’t know where the private sector jobs were coming from to redirect those newly unemployed.

The loss of meals on wheels, school meals, the list is endless.

Then there was funding worth £185,000 from Croft and Cowpen Quay going to projects in Berwick etc.

The pledge to make the county council more transparent did not last long.

As for services and devolution. These services are provided by the county council and were part of the reason when they were taken over why they received increased allowances.

They pay for staff to open up toilets, pay the water and electricity bills. They pay for playgrounds to be maintained and for planting in flower beds. All services are maintained and paid for through the general rates.

There is no regulation or act that states the county council can force these services back into local control.

We want to work to ensure services, some vital to the communities, are safeguarded.

But it is a simple argument – if the county council is paying for these now – give us whatever you pay and we will run them for the same money or even cheaper.

The admission that the provision of a waste bin costs the county council more than £400 was eye-watering.

It is fatuous to claim there is no budget for these services. I have been asking for these figures over 20 months at now 14 meetings.

If I was to agree to take these services over I want to ensure that the cost of doing so doesn’t fall on the people of Seaton Valley, I am sorry, but I am not bothered about the good people in Hexham or Berwick – just my own friends and neighbours in Seaton Valley.

I will not raise precepts without good cause just to suit those in the county council, people can be assured of that.

BOB WATSON

Chairman

Seaton Valley Council