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the Craske show it was time for the support acts, first up was Smart
Alex, the Cabinet Member for roads and things. He said that Bexley Council “was
in a position other Councils could only dream of”. (It’s the only one in London
with no tube stations, no A&E hospital, no maternity facilities and no way to
cross its longest border, the River Thames.)
He thanked residents for their help by participating in consultations and his department will now respond to criticism, he will spend more money on highways and footways. He asked for help in preparing the final list for attention.
Give Councillor Sawyer his due, he tried to be positive about the future and there was a welcome absence of bamboozlement.
By contrast, Cabinet Member Philip Read had nothing new to say so he resorted to the only trick in his book, slagging off the opposition.
His “vision of the future” was for “more homes and more job opportunities in marked contrast to those in the past with no vision, no idea and no new thinking other than to tax and spend more”. (He had just heard that Bexley Tories plan to raise taxes by 3·99% in each of the next four years.)
“This Conservative Council has demonstrated its ability to drive efficiencies and and ensure minimal increases in Council Tax in stark contrast to the Labour administration that preceded it.”
He welcomed “playground improvements” and in particular the about to be opened Belvedere Beach. “It will be an incredibly popular playground but let’s not forget that its concept was resolutely opposed by the opposition and their supporters from the start of the process”.
“Only as it has come close to fruition have they been dragged kicking and screaming to a reluctant acceptance of it and their acceptance has been lukewarm to put it mildly”. That is a lie from beginning to end. Plans for the Beach were first made public in November last year and at the very same Cabinet meeting, Labour Councillor Joe Ferreira, on behalf of all his colleagues ’welcomed the proposals and complemented those who had come up with the design’.
Bexley Tories may think they can lie with impunity when they time expire their webcasts but my audio recordings stick around for ever.
“The Council’s public realm improvements bring benefits to all our residents right across the borough … but let’s not forget the opposition has consistently opposed the decisions our reduced financial circumstances have demanded over the years. If we had accepted their continued demands to spend and spend and spend the borough’s Council Tax levels would be far higher than they are. Labour of course fails to make that clear to people who would pay the bills, the taxpayers of Bexley.
The Tories’ plan to raise their Council Tax income by 22% while cutting services is beginning to put Labour’s investment of 40% in new services in a more favourable light. With many salaries pegged to 1% neither is wanted.