Failed to grasp nettle

Reading the reactions of our councillors to the county budget (Gazette, March 3), it is clear that it has not been easy for them.

However, in one respect they have failed to grasp the nettle by not increasing car parking revenue across the county, which would help minimise the impact on front-line services.

We have been told that car parking makes a profit of £2million generated from just half of the county population.

The two former districts of Wansbeck and Blyth are an oasis of free parking with charges levied in both North Tyneside and Newcastle.

If a further £2million had been raised from the south east former districts then this could have been used to ‘protect front-line services’.

For instance, to prevent cuts in libraries (£400,000); highways (£600,000 in the north area); tourism (£173,000); school transport (£287,000).

This money could have been used to reverse the meanest cut of all in the care in the community budget where charges are to increase by 33 per cent.

We are told that the council ‘seeks to provide a fair and consistent policy across the county’.

There is nothing fair with the Northumberland Parking Strategy with its formulas heavily biased against those areas that attract visitors.

This document was clearly drafted to justify the status quo.

The council having prevaricated for two years, we are now told that they will make a decision after the May elections.

There cannot be a better example of our county councillors putting their self-interest (allowances and pensions) before the needs of those they represent.

My vote, in the forthcoming election, will go to the candidate who pledges their support of a county-wide fair and consistent parking policy.

John Heathorn,

Royal Oak Gardens,