Reading the letter in the Thanet Gazette from Labour's Councillor Nottingham this week, I confess to finding myself a little bemused.
The good councillor writes: "Local people may have seen Laura Sandys pledge that the Conservatives will reduce tax for local business at some time in the future. Pledges are fine. She could be taking action to save local people money now and is failing to do so. After Thanet Council’s 2009 budget was set the Government allocated an extra £314,324. This “windfall” came in late and as the Gazette (27/2/09) reported, Martin Wise Cabinet member for Finance has decided to keep the money for future years."
He adds: " I am therefore writing to ask her (Laura) Sandys) publicly to call on Thanet Council to spend this windfall payment right now when we all need it."
I do rather wonder if 'Local people' want to see the so-called windfall divided by the population of Thanet and imemdiately reduced from from their council tax or would prefer to see the money held in reserve as a contingency against further financial surprises which are almost bound to come,as the economy spirals steadly downward.
In fact, I'm not convinced Cllr Nottingham has done all his homework on the subject because I'm reminded that we've been landed by the Government, with the cost of concessionary bus fares, which quite possibly leaves enough change for a small burger and French fries and if your'e lucky, a milkshake; divided among 70,000 or so Thanet residents.
Do remember that the reccession is a Conservative myth, according to our local Labour opposition and I'm making all this up. It reminds me of Aesop's story of the Ant & the Grasshopper:
"The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.
Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold."
I believe, in the circumstances, it's only wise to keep any 'Windfall' in reserve because as each week goes by, it becomes apaarent that we haven't seen the bottom of the financial crisis. If we carry on as we are, councils across the land will soon be faced with very hard choices and little or no money to properly fund important community services to the level that the public quite rightly expects. So you can see that Cllr Nottingham and I are diametrically opposed on the subject and I support the fiscal prudence shown by Cllr Wise.
Finally, what Laura Sandys has got to do with this, other than Cllr Nottingham's rather frantic attempts to wave his 'little red book' , as a professional Labour activist, to prevent her, by any means, from winning Thanet South at the next General Election, I don't know.
Perhaps I should write to the Gazette too?