Friday, 7 March 2014

Council bungling forces cancellation of Redcar's popular Zetland Park Fun Day

Liberal Democrats have criticised red tape at Labour-run Redcar & Cleveland Council today after the Friends of Zetland Park were forced to cancel their popular family fun day.
The Fun Day has been running for over 10 years and provides excellent free family entertainment. Over 4000 people attended last year and the event has raised over £100,000 for the park over the last ten years.
But this year the hard-working volunteers on the organising committee say that Council red tape and obstruction has forced them to abandon this year’s plans.
The group started planning the event in October 2013. But after four months of working to comply with more and more ridiculous and poorly thought out conditions from five different Council teams, they decided enough was enough.
Zetland ward Lib Dem Councillor Ron Harrison yesterday quizzed the Labour Cabinet Member responsible about why the Council is being so obstructive. She replied that she thought it was a shame that the event had been cancelled, but did not offer to simplify the system.
“Shaping Our Future” is supposed to be a Council initiative to enable community groups to organise things for themselves, but it appears to be failing.
Cllr Ron Harrison said:
"This is a huge blow to Redcar and the borough as a whole. The community feels let down and unsupported by the Labour Council.
The Council really needs to get to grips with this before the scenario is repeated and it destroys the goodwill of more of our hard-working, voluntary groups."

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Redcar Lib Dems condemn Labour Council Tax hike

Labour Councillors at a meeting of Redcar and Cleveland Council today voted to increase Council Tax by nearly 2%, with the help of some Independent councillors. This is despite being offered a grant of over £1 million from the Government in exchange for keeping Council Tax frozen.
The Labour administration is increasing Council Tax for residents by 1.994%, the highest rise they can get away with without triggering a referendum of local people. Liberal Democrats think this is treating people with contempt, and that the Council should have gone to a referendum and let the people decide.
This follows hot on the heels of Labour’s 3.5% rise in 2012, the highest in the country.
Lib Dems think the Council should have taken the grant, which is equivalent to a 1% Council Tax increase, and frozen Council Tax. Savings could have been made by cutting the use of consultants in the Council, cutting the communications budget, use of reserves and a real war on waste.
Lib Dem Councillor Josh Mason proposed an amendment at Council today calling for a Council Tax freeze, saying:
"This is a double whammy from Labour against the people of Redcar and Cleveland borough.
“Not only has Labour lost the borough over £1 million in grant, it is also asking the residents to stump up an extra £1.5 million because of the Council Tax rise.
“Labour is taking with one hand and taking with the other!

“It's time hard-working residents in our borough had a break.”