ARCH: Issues are old news

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I think the letter from David Cockburn, of the North East Party’s Northumberland branch, praising the founder of the party, the former Labour MP Hilton Dawson, suggests that neither of them read the annuls of the News Post Leader with any great regularity, (News Post Leader, January 5).

His demand that Arch, the council-owned development company, should support and dampen the effect of the Tories’ budget cuts has already been revealed within the newspaper.

Arch pays a dividend to the council each and every year, and it is used to support jobs and services within the council to offset cuts.

Northumberland County Council is one of the few not privatising services and has increased its workforce since 2013, all reported in the News Post Leader.

Mr Cockburn attacks co-location of services to lower costs with gusto, and criticises the re-housing of the library at the leisure centre in Newbiggin.

This newspaper has described the size of the revenue grant cut from the government as £191m, with £46m still to come, on several occasions.

Mr Cockburn also doesn’t seem to understand the difference between capital finance and revenue. Arch borrowed capital finance to buy and safeguard jobs at Manor Walks, while the government revenue grant pays for jobs and services at the council, topped up by the Arch revenue dividend.

It doesn’t appear that he has been over to see the brilliant staff about the building alterations to house the new library at the leisure centre or I don’t think he would have mentioned it. My sister, a library user, is very pleased with them.

Arch, a local regeneration company, would have to trade on a similar scale to Marks and Spencer to offset the whole of the reported cut.

To finish, his comments about the fire service cuts suggest again that the News Post Leader isn’t on his radar as the arguments were all played out last year in the newspaper, leaving the fire service with no full-time firefighters made redundant.

The fire service now has a new station at Hexham and is being equipped with new vehicles at West Hartford, as well as countywide, that suit its modern needs.

Di Vyn,

Blyth