Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Give us English Votes for English MPs - Gale's View

North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, has hit out at the Prime Minister`s refusal to allow English Members of Parliament exclusive right to vote upon matters relating to England alone within the United Kingdom.

In his Constitutional Statement Prime Minister Brown said that he did "not accept English votes for English laws" because to do so would create a two-tier parliament.

"We already have a two-tier parliament of course" says Roger Gale. "Gordon Brown, even as Prime Minister, cannot vote upon matters affecting his Scottish constituency because that power has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament of which he is not a member! This Scottish Prime Minister can, though, vote upon matters relating to schools in Kent even though he has no constituency interest in them and his vote will not affect the schools in Scotland. This has got to be, quite simply, wrong.

This Prime Minister has made a song and dance of his proposals to "restore power to parliament" by abolishing the Royal Prerogative in matters such as the declaration of war and the right to recall parliament, which I welcome, but he has revealed his true colours over the "west lothian Question".

The fact of the matter is that Brown, like Blair, knows that his majority lies in the hands of Scottish MPs and he is not prepared to relinquish his right to control England. This has everything to do with political manipulation and nothing whatsoever to do with Constitutional Reform or democracy".


Cllr David Green said...

We've got devolution of limited powers to Scotland, Wales and N Ireland. Thats how it works, about time the Tories (nasty branch) got over it. Labour had more MP's in England alone for the last three elections, whats the problem?

Anonymous said...

Scotland is still subsidised by the English taxpayer and as a local councillor in Thanet you should be resentful that the people you represent locally do not get a fair deal on funding in this small deprived pocket of the affluent South-East! Shame on you to put Party before the interests of the ward you represent.

Cllr David Green said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cllr David Green said...

Thanet gets more subsidy per head than the rest of Kent, the rest of the South East, the rest of England. Money follows need, thats how it should be, whats the problem?

Anonymous said...

Re Councillor David Green's comment 8.25am if this is true why don't the disabled and most vulnerable members of our community received any benefits from these generous subsidies?
Eileen Cunnew

Anonymous said...

Shame on you Councillor Green, you've lost my vote.

Cllr David Green said...

The disabled get disability allowance, the unemployed get unemployment benefit. Others, on low income get family tax credits.
Pensioners get, er, pensions.
You may argue, and I would agree, that in a rich country such as ours we could afford more, but they do all get benefits up to a minimum level. And they are all much higher now than 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Green, your party in Govt has overseen the collapse of savings and private pensions in this country and has done precious little to raise the state pension; recent rises have been utterly risible and with one of the lowest pensions in Europe now, you have turned me into a dependant on the state for benefits. Thanks a lot!

James Maskell said...

When the SNP administration decided to abolish tuition fees in Scotland for Scottish students, the British taxpayer has to pay for it. Scotland has a free hand and its us taxpayers who are bled dry to pay for it.

As Roger rightly points out, Labour needs the votes of Scottish MPs. Without them a lot more legislation would be at risk. Think of all the narrow votes in the past ten years. Without the Scottish votes, the Bills would have been defeated.

Labour started the ball rolling on this with devolution. Labour cant try standing up for the Union now. Theyve done plenty in trying to destroy it.

Cllr David Green said...

Anon 10:19

I am truely sorry if your personal financial arrangements have not worked out well. At least the state safety net is much better now than 10 years ago, and so many of the benefits are not means tested, free travel, TV licence, winter fuel allowance etc.
There is a problem with private pensions, but the causes are complex, they include an ageing population, a relatively static stock market and a failure of many private schemes to invest sufficiently when times were good.
When I was a trustee of the Medical Reseach Council scheme, I constantly argued to shift funds from the stock and shares towards property based funds. This is paying off handsomely now!

Anonymous said...

I am rarely moved to get involved in bunfights, but, when I see the publication of inaccuracies, I am always moved.

Cllr Green will, like me, have spent much time over the last week poring over the Council’s accounts.

Thanet, unless one counts State Benefits, is very poorly funded at present. State Benefits are not a “subsidy”, they are a symptom of central government failure.

The total Council budget is a little over £20m, which may initially sound like a great deal of money, but it has to serve all the core service needs of a population a little larger than the City of Coventry. We certainly do not receive greater subsidy than the rest of Kent.

Perhaps we should stick to some facts, given ten years of stable rule in Westminster, that we currently face (anyone with time can confirm these from accounts and other material in public issue);

* One in four Thanet households is benefit dependent

* The benefits caseload in Thanet is the highest in Kent. By a considerable margin.

* Housing benefits payments alone, for which the Council acts as a paying agent, are, at £55.6m, over two and one half times the Council’s core budget. That’s a subsidy?

* 21.7% of Thanet people are affected by long term illness, which affects their ability to work

* Average household income in Thanet is fully £5,000 a year below the Kent average

* Thanet unemployment is twice the Kent average

Let’s also, perhaps, have a look at “reverse subsidy”. Cases where Thanet has to give to Westminster, but does not receive back in kind.

The Council currently collects around £24 million a year in Commercial rates and associated income. This does not go into the local economy, despite its obvious needs. It goes to the Mr Brown, and the Exchequer.

How much does it get back?

Around £10m.

It beggars belief that it’s claimed that we are heavily subsidised. The facts are that central government funding for Thanet has been cut, in real terms, in successive years. Thanet subsidises central government, not the other way round.

The economic opportunities are there, and we are turning things around now, after some years of neglect, but it would pay us all to stick to reality.

It would also help if the needs of the area were not ignored by Government, and Government agencies. The latest example is the 14% cut in funding for Crime Reduction initiatives (retrospective, by the way), in which Thanet’s performance was judged by the Government Office for the South East as being “excellent”. Why was it slid out in the week of Mr Brown’s planned accession? You will all form your own views.

Oh - the causes of private sector pension problems are overwhelmingly the £100Bn in tax imposed on them since 1998. And property, in the medium term, has never out-performed equities.

Would Cllr Green comment on the deficit in the Council's own pension fund, which has resulted?

Cllr Ewen Cameron

DrMoores said...

Councillor Green, is, I'm certain, well aware of the figures and the central government deficit in our local needs. After all, it was his attention and questioning of many of the smaller and finer details in the budget that almost to the audit committe sitting overnight.

Anonymous said...

Councillor David Green 9.24pm
I would not argue with you as far as I myself am concerned pensioners over a certain age (of which I am one) do get the benefit of free TV licences a substantial winter fuel allowance plus and extra 25p a week - those below that age are not so well off.
I still maintain that the disabled members of our community are hit the hardest when they are told they will have meet the extra cost of care and then read that the Leader of KCC can find thousands of pounds to set up a web site.
It's the inequality that is so unfair.
The unemployed still have to face the ever increasing costs re fuel and general living costs so any increases of benefit over the past 10 years would have been swallowed up by these.
There are some scroungers I know but the majority of unemployed are there through no fault of their own (redundancy - cheap foreign labour - large companies going into liquidation etc.) I'm sure they would far rather be working than living on a minimal income.
Eileen Cunnew