Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Conservatives and Eynesbury Hardwicke

In another spat with Cllr Paul Ursell a leaflet came to light sent out by the Conservatives at the last election in the area which was formerly part of Eynesbury Hardwicke and has been annexed by HDC to St Neots Town Council. The leaflet in question can be found here.

There is no Conservative banner so how do I know it is a Conservative leaflet?

At the bottom of the page there is an imprint. In really tiny font size it says:
This Conservative leaflet doesn't really want you to know it is from the Conservatives.

The banner at the top of the leaflets simply says:
Nothing to indicate it is from the Conservatives.

So what does the leaflet have to say and what doesn't it say?

The first paragraph:
Nothing in this paragraph indicates the Conservatives were the ones who moved the residents from Eynesbury Hardwicke to St Neots fully knowing that these residents would have to pay higher council tax. On 21/11/2007 then Councillor Andrew Gilbert drew attention to this change:
So the Conservative knew fully the annexed residents would have to pay more. The Conservative run HDC had decided to move these residents to St Neots. There is no mention of this fact in the Conservatives leaflet.

The second paragraph goes on:
Of course the small reduction in the Council Tax for the majority of St Neots Council taxpayers is for existing council taxpayers. But it is also for the annexed residents who don't have to pay so much under the Conservative prosposals.

The third paragraph says:
Whilst it is a valid point that the Liberal Democrats have upped the Town Tax and the increase is being funded by the annexed residents, nothing is said about the Conservatives moving these residents in the first place and therefore making them liable for these higher taxes.

The fourth paragraph goes onto say:
This argument would be good if the Conservatives hadn't moved these residents to St Neots Town Council. The consequence of such a move is the annexed residents would pay more. The Conservatives knew this when they took this decision.

The fifth paragraph is the most interesting
But what of the old Eynesbury Hardwicke Parish Council? If they had built and provided facilities then St Neots Town Council would have to take them over and run them. EHPC didn't provide any facilities. Affected EHPC residents enjoyed much lower parish/town tax than the rest of St Neots.

The minority Conservative group did put forward ill thought out proposals. But creating a specific fund does one thing. It would put up the Council Tax for all residents in St Neots. This is something the Conservatives are quiet about. 

Why should residents get a specific fund for their area? This must be new Conservative policy for Eynesbury. Under a Conservative run Town Council will this discrimination be put into effect or will we all be in this together.

Also why should neighbours pay different taxes. The boundary was there before Parklands and Eynesbury Manor were built. Some residents on one side of a street paid St Neots rate of Council Tax and on the other side they paid the much lower EHPC. 

Oh and HDC did actually tax, many years ago, the residents of Eynesbury Hardwicke at the St Neots Town Council rate until it was pointed out Eynesbury Hardwicke was a different parish.

The use of Eatons Community Centre is a strange choice. As Councillor Ursell (Conservative) who is on HDC, SNTC and was on EHPC put it:

“This much needed community centre will be a tremendous asset for the residents of the Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon communities who will undoubtedly make full use of its facilities.”

In Eaton Ford this is a tremendous asset. In the annex area this is a financial burden. Two different messages, one St Neots Conservatives. Depends where you live the Town.

In conclusion, this is a shameful leaflet and I understand it was from the Conservatives and this was hidden away at the bottom of the page. It sets out some valid points but misses the main reason why the annexed residents had to pay higher Council Tax and that is simply because the Conservatives decided to change the boundary and move these residents into St Neots.  

Far easier for the St Neots Conservatives to blame the Liberal Democrats than admit your own decisions!

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