Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Ipswich Conservatives Budget 2012.

Conservatives Budget 2012-02-24   


CONSERVATIVES PROPOSE 3% REDUCTION IN COUNCIL TAX FOR IPSWICH RESIDENTS   Ipswich Conservative Group propose a 3% reduction in Council Tax for local residents, and have made recommendations for a £384,750 reduction in the 2012/13 budget to deliver the required savings.  

Conservative Leader, Cllr. John Carnall, has put forward an amendment to the budget to be debated at Full Council  Wednesday, 29th February.  

“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,” he says.   “Whilst Labour are freezing Council Tax, made possible by a 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%.”   

The Conservative savings proposed are as follows:  

Reduce senior management costs ​ £125,000

Transfer HEARS service to SCC​  £  25,000

Withdraw interest free period granted to   Ipswich Town Football Club​ £ 17,000

Reduce allowances paid to Area Committee Chairmen  ​£  15,000

Increase General Fund Revenue Balance​  £  22,250  

And delete Labour’s following proposals for additional expenditure:  
Equalities Project Officer​£  25,000
External Funding Officer​£  60,000
Support to Public Transport  ​£140,000  

TOTAL  ​£384,750   

For further comment contact:   Cllr. John Carnall​ 01473 717475
Conservative Group Leader, Ipswich Borough Council        

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ben Gummer - Health of Ipswich

Ben has written an important article on NHS in his latest newsletter and for the local paper. It merits the main message being repeated here.

If the critics of the new health reforms are blaming how it has been communicated then this goes some way to explain why the reforms are so important and necessary.

 He invites you to discuss this with him at his surgery session, (details printed at the end)

From Bens Evening Star column, published on 24th Febuary.  

"We all know what the problems are with the NHS: too much money goes on bureaucracy, doctors are not given enough control, patients are often left out of decision-making, and too little money is spent on prevention - especially in elderly care and chronic diseases - and too much on clearing up problems in hospital that should have been dealt with earlier elsewhere.
Worst of all, the difference in life expectancy between those who have money and those who do not is disgracefully wide. The NHS was invented to close this gap - so everyone could expect the same healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay.  

Let me first bust a myth that has persisted too long. Whilst the vast majority of people working in the NHS are public spirited and hard working; whilst the treatments we receive a often very good; whilst the range of treatments we receive is remarkable: the NHS is not the best health service in the world.

If Ipswich were transferred to Holland, or Germany, or France, or even Valencia in Spain - the people of this town would receive better healthcare than in Britain. In cancer survival rates, the difference is most marked: by some measures only a few former eastern bloc countries do worse. Indeed, in one Indian cardiac hospital in Bangalore, more people are treated to better effect at significantly less cost (even accounting for wage differentials) than in any cardiac hospital in the UK.   Why is this the case? Because in Holland, Germany and France, the health system is managed more by clinicians - doctors and consultants - and less by bureaucrats. Their health systems are more efficient, meaning that money goes where it is needed. And the management of care for the elderly and those suffering from chronic conditions is better integrated.   I don't think that this is right. Why should you get worse healthcare than someone similar over the North Sea, who contributes roughly the same to the cost of their cover?

Now, the health bill before the House of Commons goes some way towards bringing some of that best practice to our health service. People write to me and ask whether I am in favour of it. The answer is yes: because it is already making a difference in Ipswich reducing elderly admissions to hospital, reducing waste in the drugs budget, and planning care for people with long-term conditions. I would not support it if it was not good for Ipswich or for my family.  

My only criticism is that it does not take us close enough to the systems in the continent, which will continue to better us unless we keep up reform. Only then will we have an NHS that is truly the envy of the world'.

The Health of Ipswich Surgery
Come to my open surgery on 3rd March, between 10 and 12, at Colchester Road Baptist Church, where there will also be local councillors and police from the north east Safer Neighbourhood Team. You may want to argue with me about this article!

Contact Information phone: 0845 634 9197 email: ben@bengummer.com

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Ipswich Old Labour Back to Spend, Spend, Spend

  By Cllr Judy Terry  

I’m very much a glass three-quarters full type of person, and strongly believe that solutions can always be found to the most difficult problems.

However, the key is having a very thorough understanding of the problems in question, and good relationships with colleagues and the wider community. It also requires creative thinking and leadership.

 I never believe in doing something for purely political reasons; I want to achieve the best outcomes for the long term and work tenaciously to ensure that if I make a commitment, I actually do something positive to deliver.  

For these reasons, I am increasingly surprised and shocked at the cynical hypocrisy of Labour’s new administration in Ipswich. This is Old Labour in action.  

Last May’s campaign was purely focused on County issues, because they couldn’t criticise the Conservatives in Ipswich, who had restored the town’s finances, leaving £7.2m in the reserves (soon to be squandered by Old Labour). So instead, they concentrated their efforts on ‘save our libraries’. Yet, apart from the vitriolic rhetoric and highly personal attacks, they did nothing other than to offer £95,000 against a £2m budget ‘should they be elected’. Of course, they were elected to run Ipswich Borough Council, but did nothing constructive to engage in the process of ‘saving libraries’ either before or since!  

Instead, it is the Conservatives who have created an Industrial and Provident Society into which all libraries are being transferred, to be run by the people, for the people, whilst also making significant savings.  

In contrast, however, Labour have dismantled the Area Forums and park Management Boards in Ipswich to create a large, uncosted, bureaucracy of Area Committees, which will not allow the same public engagement.  

At the same time, Cllr. Ellesmere, the Council leader, writes in his regular Star article about the importance of creating new jobs, but since May he continues to make staff redundant whilst spending many thousands of pounds on agency staff! In just six months.  

Meanwhile, Cllr. Bryony Rudkin has taken on the Culture portfolio. However, when she was Leader of SCC, she refused to give Ipswich any funding whatsoever to help with reviving The Regent and Museums, following 25 years of neglect under the previous Labour administration. So what is her commitment to this portfolio?    

Labour also promised financial probity, yet they are already committed to borrowing another £100 million, and their very first act was to commission ‘an independent panel’ to review councillor allowances. Hardly a priority when most people are struggling to make ends meet, and it is local residents who will have to pay for any increases.  

Despite the economic climate, ‘spend, spend, spend, regardless of the consequences’ is embedded in Old Labour’s DNA.

Councillor Judy Terry

Footnote from Cllr Cenci - this blog invites posts from all Tory Councillors and welcomes any comments from the people of Ipswich. I do not edit or change wording from any of the guests offerings or subsequent comments (unless rude or against the law of course!)

Monday, 6 February 2012

It's Labour Who are out Of Touch by Cllr Judy Terry

The following article was written by Cllr Judy Terry and may or may not reflect my views. I do not edit or pass comment on my guest writers work:  

IT’S LABOUR WHO ARE OUT OF TOUCH   by Councillor J Terry

During Question Time last week, the PM was censured for using the word ‘hypocrisy’ because it was ‘unparliamentary’.  

I am not governed by the same strictures, so I can say that it is hypocritical of Ed Miliband to criticise those who are wealthy, and wealth creators, whether through their own hard work or inheritance, when you have considerable wealth yourself! Referring to the government as ‘multi-millionaires’ and ‘out of touch’ because of their wealth, is hypocritical when you, yourself, live in a multi-million pound property and have an income which is well beyond most people’s wildest dreams. If Ed wants a class war, he is attacking himself and his own family.  

Lord Mandelson famously said that he had ‘no problem with people being filthy rich’, and certainly he wasn’t slow in making a substantial fortune during his years in the public service. Indeed, the Blairs have followed in his footsteps, making squillions in the few years since he left office; there have even been questions over the amount of tax he pays, and certainly over the fact that you and I are still forking out around £6m a year for the former PM’s security.  

So, let’s remember that, long with members of the government - Conservative and Liberal - both the Milibands and many on Ed’s own Labour front bench benefited from a fine education at some of the UK’s, and indeed the world’s, greatest universities. It is a shame that too few of them didn’t also benefit from having ‘proper jobs’ in the real world.  

Which leads me onto the unseemly attacks on bankers. Let me make it clear that I have no idea what people at the top of the banking industry actually do, and I doubt whether most politicians do either, so I am not qualified to question what they are paid. However, I do believe that excessive pay is an affront to society, especially when those who are paid such large sums appear to be without a social conscience.  

I find it equally distasteful that footballers are paid so many millions just for kicking a ball around, which means that the average punter can’t afford a season ticket. I am also affronted by the £850,000 salary for the Director General of the BBC, let alone his pension entitlements which are in the realms of a lottery win!  

But, back to banks. Apart from RBS, these are private businesses, owned by shareholders which include pension funds. I agree that shareholders should tighten their employees’ belts, and be cognisant of the restraints under which the rest of us are struggling. Nevertheless, witch-hunts against individuals are tasteless and unproductive, and the last thing I want is for the public sector to take over running RBS because it would be a disaster. Banking is a reactive industry, and decision-making needs to be quick, not something for which the public sector is renowned!  

I resent politicians’ interference for two main reasons: Firstly, bashing bankers may be populist, but it gives the wrong impression to business, and that includes overseas business, which wants to expand or create new investments in our country. If we over-tax and have an anti-business culture, they will go somewhere else, taking their billions and job creation with them. This is what happened under previous Labour administrations, and it took years to rebuild confidence in the UK.  

Secondly, the banks will pull up the drawbridge. Just as we need them to be lending money to existing and new businesses, homebuyers and those of us who may want to buy a new car or build an extension, they will refuse even modest loans. This is what is happening now, and the coffers need to be opened if we are to restore our economy.  

Finally, may I remind you that the biggest failure of the banking industry was bad regulation – and whilst there are key figures who were culpable for mismanaging their own banks, the major culpability lies with the last Labour government. Gordon Brown, Ed Balls, and Tony Blair, and every other Cabinet member, who set aside their financial responsibilities for political gain, by promoting the ‘no more boom and bust’ mantra. They had a duty to all of us to manage our finances efficiently, not selling our gold at the lowest ever price, and not permitting the economy to overheat.  

They failed miserably. Ed Miliband should remember that next time he accuses the front bench of being out of touch; it is Labour which is out of touch by refusing to acknowledge how badly they let us all down.