In the April edition of the Ipswich Flyer, Judy Terry's article is up to her usual very high standard. I reprint it here in full.
As Conservative leader, Cllr. John Carnall said, “we left the new Labour administration a golden legacy of significantly increased reserves, and reduced debt, and there is ample scope to reduce council tax, helping local residents with their budgeting when many people are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
“Whilst Labour are freezing council tax, thanks to 4 the government grant, they are increasing fees and charges by 3%, which is above their own estimate of inflation, as well as increasing council house rents by 5.6%, which is well ahead of inflation. At the same time, they are penalising the voluntary sector by increasing rents by up to 1600%.” Needless to say, there is no mention of libraries in the budget, nor indeed in the new Corporate Plan -so much for ‘saving’ them!
By the time this article is published, we will know what the Chancellor proposes to do to further stimulate the economy. Since he is not having to borrow as much as was thought, we can hope for some good news, although money remains tight.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that the government is working hard to help to stimulate the economy, by feeding significant new funds via the New Anglia LEP, led by business, and covering Norfolk and Suffolk. Highly regarded by Ministers because it delivers, so far it has won money for Superfast Broadband with £10m of match funding from the County Council. This will have a significant impact on business growth, given that we are largely a rural county – with very poor internet access, except in the larger towns.
It was also awarded Enterprise Zone status for Lowestoft/Creat Yarmouth, bringing major benefits to the whole county’s economy; £12m has just been made available to unblock stalled projects (such as on the Ipswich Waterfront) and other substantial funds are due to be announced this week by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
Worryingly, Labour’s budget requires additional borrowing, and taking £5m out of the £7.2m reserves which were built up by the Conservatives- just as we are all paying the price now because Cordon Brown spent more than the country earned in tax for 13 years, so will you, the council taxpayer, be picking up the bill for Labour’s largesse in Ipswich in the years to come. Remember the 18% council tax increases?
All this helps to stimulate growth, yet we have to be mindful of how important it is to keep costs down for local residents. With this in mind, the government has provided sufficient funding to local authorities to prevent council tax increases for 2012/13; at the County we are continuing our policy of no increases, whilst also meeting big challenges to reduce costs and maintain high quality services. iFiis strategy is reflected in Libraries where, contrary to Labour’s campaign of misinformation last year, no libraries have closed, yet £3m will be saved.
In Ipswich, it would have been possible to actually reduce council tax, as the Conservatives did last year. We proposed a fully costed 3% reduction, identifying where savings could be made.
Meanwhile the author of the dRoss blog continues to spout his vitriolic diatribe. Whereas Judy Terry is an excellent councillor who works hard for the residents of Rushmere Ward and also is a good writer, Alasdair Ross can’t write for toffee and he merely uses his position as a councillor as a vendetta against Judy Terry to the detrimental effect of the residents of his ward. That’s Just one of many reasons why the people of Rushmere Ward should do the right thing and vote out Alasdair Ross in May.