Directly hitting older people

COUNCILLOR Nigel Ashton, speaking about his budget for North Somerset Council, is quoted saying that he wants to protect the elderly and vulnerable from the worst effects of cutbacks.

COUNCILLOR Nigel Ashton, speaking about his budget for North Somerset Council, is quoted saying that he wants to protect the elderly and vulnerable from the worst effects of cutbacks.

But we can all see the reality - a 600 per cent hike in daycare charges - directly hitting many older people in the pocket. The planned closure of Poppyfields care home - literally forcing people with dementia out of their home.

Cllr Ashton talks about his success in keeping bills down, but he hasn't succeeded on that measure either. The council tax rise is above the English national average and Conservatives over the border in Somerset have frozen their tax.

But of course, we all know the why. Here, they have got a �15million office move to Clevedon to pay for. Here, they need to find money to fund increases in councillors' allowances and the cost of their pensions. Here, they need to find cash to paper over the cracks in the ongoing Tropicana debacle. It is a thankless task trying to run a local council. There are a lot of critics and not too many plaudits, but of course, sometimes, the criticism is justified. Politics is all about choices. You cannot do it all. But the choices must be based on the priorities of local people and on sound judgement.


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I am afraid that with every week that passes we see more and more evidence that the councillors running North Somerset have made their choices. They choose to ignore public opinion and press ahead with cuts and closures to fund their own ill thought out projects.

MIKE BELL

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