the Telegraph had Bexley in mind when it wrote that some councils were deceiving
voters into backing parking charge increases.
In 2010 Bexley council asked if residents wanted to see council tax go up or for various service charges to be paid by those who used the services. They held Road Shows and put a questionnaire on line. Then the Road Shows were cancelled without notice and the questionnaire was described in council as “not user friendly”. Despite that, Bexley council saw it as a mandate and set about cutting services for the disabled and increasing charges all round.
Their consultation had provided 160 different comments from 829 sources most of which were public bodies rather than individuals. Only one suggestion was taken on board.
This was interpreted as support for across the board price increases. In the foreword to Budget Strategy 2014, the document which listed the price changes and noted that the parking charges were to “maximise revenue”, council leader Teresa O’Neill said “The information included in this document has been widely consulted with our local residents”. Something of an exaggeration. Local residents had said almost nothing.
Click image for Telegraph article.