Labour: What we’ll do

It was nice to see the pledges from Peter Jackson in last week’s press, but of course, everything he touches seems to turn into dust.

A week after the council budget, Berwick Conservatives floated this promise on their website: “End the council tax discount on second homes and invest all of the money raised in tax on second homes in a new generation of council housing for local families. It is unfair that people with two homes get a tax break when so many people cannot afford their first home.”

It seems a decent pledge, except that the budget which went through included the removal of the discount on second homes, saving 175 jobs.

Peter Jackson, on budget day, put forward the Tory plan to introduce performance-related pay for some employees, after the council has had to spend tens of millions introducing a national agreement on equality and equal pay (Single Status)due to some people’s pay having performance-related bonuses attached.

In the Gazette article last week, he is pledging ‘new money’ for highway repairs. By abstaining on the budget vote, his team almost missed £6million of real ‘new money’ for repairs.

Northumberland Labour Group has drawn up a plan to develop 1,300 affordable, social and intermediate homes over the next four years and has a programme in place that doesn’t rely on paying off staff or attacking their national terms and conditions.

It will also kickstart the Northumberland economy creating 500 jobs in the construction sector, offer the opportunity for apprenticeships and safeguard 3,000 jobs in the supply and retail sector.

Labour Group will introduce free parking, but wishes to harvest local knowledge and work with town and parish councils to ensure everyone’s views are taken into consideration.

We want to keep our communities sustainable and increase tourism and trade from the conurbation.

One of the ways to achieve this is free parking for all. We believe this is an income cut worth taking to assist Northumberland. We will urge parish councils to come up with innovative solutions that see parking charges as a last resort.

Northumberland has a rapidly ageing mobile population who can shop from Monday to Friday and it should be possible for some areas to remove or time-limit parking on days when pressure on space is reduced, or to produce seasonal parking plans that reflect the ebb and flow of tourist traffic.

Scott Dickinson,

Hadston House Youth and

Community Projects Ltd,

Hadston House,