During the last four years of the current Labour/Independent-run Northumberland County Council, even though their total budget has remained fairly constant, they have presided over a doubling of the Council’s debt to worrying levels of over £1 billion and cut essential daily services to our communities at every level from imposing £600 charging for Post 16 transport to education, reducing our local Fire Services, leaving weeds to grow in our streets and doubling the fees to use our leisure centres, even for people with an essential health need.
Yet year on year Labour has prioritised the free pop concert programme for Blyth only at the expense of taxpayers across the county. Now the full publicity machine of the Council, at a cost of £0.5 million per year, has been set to publicise this year’s extravaganza in Blyth, not surprisingly, just weeks before the elections on 4th May.
Coun Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland Conservatives said, “After the many millions of taxpayers funds that have been poured into Blyth and Ashington over the last four years it is a matter of serious concern that this Labour/ Independent-run County Council should prioritise the spending of scarce resources on the Council Leader’s home town in this way.
This is a deliberate slap in the face to all those who live in other towns such as Berwick, Cramlington, Bedlington, Prudhoe, Hexham and Haltwhistle as examples. Residents need to ask “Why is it that Blyth receives this special treatment and the rest of the county has to suffer?”
To be cutting essential services to the rest of the county at the same time as spending thousands on this jamboree is nothing short of a scandal and is absolute evidence that this county needs a change of direction. People need to know the truth about the way in which taxpayer’s money is being thrown around.
Our County Council needs to focus entirely on key local priorities and to be fair to all of its communities. The way to do this is to bring in local budgets and local decision making with a fair share for all to get away from the top down, we know best, mentality that drives this Labour-run County Council. It is about time we had a county working for everyone and not just for a few.
Summer might be coming to Blyth but this Council is casting a long shadow over the rest of the county.”