The Labour Group on the East Riding Council last week put forward an alternative to the Conservative budget for 2013/14. The Tories rejected the proposals. (Remember there are 53 Tory councillors and 6 Labour)

 Labour’s proposals aimed to give a fair deal to all in our local communities. An increase of 1.9% in Council Tax would have raised the Council an essential £1.823m in extra revenue. It would have cost Band D payers roughly an extra 50p a week.

Labour Group leader Councillor Pat O’Neil said:

£143,000 would have enabled us to fund Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants as         required.£1.25m would have been used to stop the 25% reduction in Council Tax Benefits – a dreadful policy which will hit the poor hardest. The remaining £43,000 would have been placed in Adult Services reserves.”

Councillor Paul Hogan added

 there are three massive taxes on the poor taking effect in April. These could see the average household pay an extra £10 per week in Council Rent increases, £11 – £20 per week for the loathed ‘Bedroom Tax’, and £6 per week for the the Council Tax Support Scheme – a total of at least £27 a week. People on the minimum wage of just over £6 an hour will really suffer.

The Labour Group condemns the Coalition Government for its continual attack on the working poor in the East Riding. This Tory Council has missed the chance to help the worst off in our communities. “

Dunswell School Petition


A petition in support of the threatened Dunswell School attracted 500 people an hour, as shoppers queued in Beverley town centre on Saturday at a Labour Party stall. Activists are however warning that the proposed closure could be the tip of the iceberg as further public meetings and demonstrations are planned.

Speaking today, George McManus, Labour’s Parliamentary Spokesman for Beverley and Holderness said, ‘The public support on Saturday was overwhelming. We couldn’t sign people up quick enough. This is the biggest response we’ve ever seen for such a petition’.

He went on, ‘We are now asking East Riding Council to explain their rationale for these proposals and to come clean on threats to other schools. They can’t hide behind a cloak of secrecy. This Tory Council is implementing central government policy. They need to show some backbone. In all the years that Labour was in power, no school in the East Riding was compelled to close. Under the Tories it now looks as though that will change.’

Public Meeting

An angry and frustrated public meeting in Dunswell has been told that the consultation into school closure plans will be extended. A packed sports hall in the village heard East Riding Council’s Paul Butler promise further talks and follow up meetings over the coming months.

The consultation which was due to end in 5 weeks will be extended until at least Eatser in order to provide more detailed information about the council’s proposals. Speaking today, George McManus, Labour’s Parliamentary Spokesman for Beverley and Holderness, who attended the meeting said, ‘This is good news. It was clear that the council officer was unable to answer detailed questions from concerned parents, and he accepted that the consultation would need to continue for longer than originally planned.’ He went on,

‘The unfortunate Mr Butler seemed totally unprepared for the rational and sensible questions being asked by concerned parents. He was unable to explain the business case for the Council’s proposals. I cannot see any justification in closing this excellent school and I would urge everyone to sign the petition which will be available at our streetstall this Saturday. We’ll be outside Wilkinsons on Toll Gavel in Beverley from 10am until noon.’

Fundamental Change

Fundamental Change’ has been called for by the enquiry into the tragic mistakes made by Staffordshire NHS Trust. Has the NHS finished the last fundamental change? Can any reader determine which one that was? Isn’t the NHS currently undergoing fundamental change (some call is privatisation)? I believe that fundamental change creates a distraction to those that contribute to the care and attention of patients. It unnecessarily occupies the minds of healthcare workers who worry for job security, resources, availability of training and professional relationship issues when patient care should always be the main focus. Instead of fundamental change, we need our leaders to encourage, nurture and properly supervise the NHS in the interests of patients not in the interests of anything else – at all.

Trevor Whatmore 6th February 2013