Thursday, 13 December 2012

Tories call Ipswich a 'poor' town

Yesterday we had the last Full Ipswich Borough Council meeting of the year, as in previous meetings we had further questions on the wind turbines proposed for an area South west of Ipswich but not surprisingly the Ipswich Tories or Lib Dems were less keen to ask questions, knowing that the answers would highlight their involvement in the original deal to being turbines to the town.

The main focus of the meeting should have been the two motions that were to be debated, the first was one put forward by Labour to support the fight to save the Postal Sorting Office in Commercial Road. The Tories (no surprise) put forward an amendment, what was surprising was that their amendment did not include the name of Ben Gummer the local Tory MP.

Much of what Cllr Carnall proposedin his amendment was very acceptable to all and you wonder why he did not discuss it with the administration first, but he seemed to prefer to score some cheap political point. The good news was that a newly worded motion was agreed and that it gained unanimous support. Wonder why the Tories did not include Ben Gummers name in their amendment? Possibly because in his local paper column he seems happy for the market to decide if a sorting office is needed in Ipswich. The very opposite to when he was trying to win the Ipswich seat, then it was petitions in the town and sacks of signatures placed outside Number 10 when fighting to save a local Post office, don’t hold your breath if you expect Gummer and local Tories to be collecting signatures on the Cornhill this Saturday to save the Sorting Office.

The Tory motion was centered around the Ipswich Labour plan to start building council houses, the Tories wanted us to write a letter to the Housing Minister to thank them for the changes to housing revenue that have enabled us to start building again. What the Tories forgot was that changes to Housing Revenue had been started under the Labour Government and was just one of the very few plans from the previous government that the Tories and Lib Dems had not scrapped. It does seem strange to hear Tory councilors attempt to lecture us on social housing. Of course Ben Gummer our MP thought it was better that the new housing we were building should be run by a Housing association rather than the council, not even sure many Tory councilors would agree with him on that point.

The other main issue of the meeting was the Council Tax Support Localisation report being presented by Cllr Martin Cook – which included the effects on those in receipt of Council Tax benefit. A conservative estimate is that the changes will effect up to 9,000 families in Ipswich. So there would be less money coming to the town. Well that is what most people thought but we had Tory Cllrs queuing to say how much better the new scheme will be. Cllr Stewart even declared that we would be better off financially in the long run! Cllr Cenci also had her usual pop at those on benefit. But then Cllr Stewart came out with the comment that Ipswich was a ‘poor’ town, not sure that is a valid description of our town. I tweeted my anger and agreed with my Labour colleague who said Ipswich was not a ‘poor’ town but a town living with ‘low wages’ in what is a ‘low wage’ county.

I received a reply from a leading Ipswich Tory telling me that if I was not happy living in a low wage town, I should move. I love this town and love living here, I probably could earn far more in many other places in the world but I would rather live in my home town and fight to improve life for all Ipswich residents.

Roger Fern also angered by Tory comments, then informed us of just one center for homeless people in Ipswich had 20 of its 25 beds full last night and demand for these beds would only increase under these Tory (and Lib Dem) proposals to benefit changes.

Many residents you speak to on the doorstep mention that all political groups are the same. Last night showed quite clearly that the Ipswich Labour Party is on the side of all Ipswich residents whilst the Tories are just interested in themselves and their rich friends.


IS/BR said...

Did David Ellesmere discuss his motion with John Carnall before putting it to the council, or was he also making some cheap political point? Can't have it both ways Cllr Ross.

Alasdair Ross said...

John Carnall would have had our motion for over a week, if he thought he could have improved it he could have approached David then.

We never saw his amendment till the meeting. Cllr Carnall was point scoring - similar to when he commented on procedure at the annual council meeting in 2011. As a senior guest (and Tory voter) said to me at the time, he would not have got away with that in the military - he should havehighlighted the issue as soon as he had seen the agenda.

He had a week to approach the Labour Group- he chose not to.

Anonymous said...

Benefit dependence caused by low wages is a legacy of the last Labour Government.