Chairman should act with dignity
Dear Sir, — I start with some information from Staffordshire County Council which may be of help to some of our residents who could join the thousands of Staffordshire people who have already taken advantage of this offer, which is that parents or guardians with children who have celebrated their third birthday between April and August 2018, can be enrolled for up to 34 hours’ funded child care.
Also, the number of households and businesses using superfast broadband has doubled in the last two years, thanks to the Superfast Staffordshire’s roll out, some of the smallest rural communities are now enjoying the benefits of this service, perhaps this could be of interest to your readers.
It was interesting to learn that a local newspaper the Express and Star (not in our area), has calculated that more than 1,500 bus routes have been lost in the West Midlands in the last five years, and highlights the case of Arriva which stopped Sunday services to Cannock and Stafford after some subsidies were cut. The message is that some subsidised journeys were costing taxpayers £10 per passenger which was considered unsustainable.
This last item does underline the problem that Staffordshire County Council has which is that the money we spend is yours, the tax payer’s, and I, as a member of the county council’s Audit Committee, am aware that the gap in finances for 2018/19 exceeds £30m, so I would ask that the new reduced 93 bus route is well used, or it could and no doubt would, disappear once again.
Reading last week’s report on this subject and the letter from Coun Jones, I see that yet again he launches an attack on me, saying that I didn’t fight to retain this bus service, and he chooses to forget that I am, as already mentioned, on the committee, scrutinising council spending and thus represent the taxpayers of Biddulph North, West as well as Biddulph Moor, and in fact the whole of Staffordshire, and I fought extremely hard to obtain an offer of £45,000 to help the stranded folk on Biddulph Moor, Knypersley, and Gillow Heath. Between me then stepping back and Coun Jones taking over, that figure seems to have been somewhat reduced, and while I agree that the final deal seems a poor one, it is a deal that many rural areas would die for, and that is why I have to repeat the warning — use it or lose it! Hopefully finally on this particular issue, I have previously stated how very comforting it has been, not just for myself, but also for my wife Kay, to receive so many comments, telephone calls, emails and letters of support which have, in the main, expressed deep concern at Coun Jones’s behaviour and vicious words used at the recent town council meeting, and I confess that this was certainly a shock to me, especially when coming from the newly installed chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, but, as he did offer an apology of sorts, I had considered the matter closed and that he should get on with his job as chairman, and I must get on with trying to help to fill the financial “black hole”. But with his latest unpleasant behaviour expressed in the Chronicle, I would ask that he does indeed consider his position and act with the dignity his role deserves.
With the amazing summer weather seemingly to continue, although some parts of our county have seen some welcome rainfall, it is great that our school children are able to get out and about, hopefully well covered in protective sun creams, and staying away from the dangers of swimming in the tempting lakes and reservoirs etc, which must make life a little easier for parents looking for suitable entertainment not costing a fortune. I would though underline the request that as the very young, and the elderly can be most vulnerable in this weather, should you know of anyone needing some assistance please let the authorities know, and if I can help with directing your concerns to the right agencies, please let me know.
I would take this opportunity to remind you all that next year we will be having the elections for Biddulph Town Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, and if you consider you would make a good councillor, with modern initiatives, and perhaps feel that you could do a much better job than the person currently representing you, now is the time to put your name forward. From my personal point of view, I am rather despondent at being the only Conservative on Biddulph Town Council, so come on you Blues, let’s be hearing from you! I have no doubt the Independents, Labour and other groups would also welcome new contenders, but I think you will agree that one Conservative is a little lopsided!
So that’s it for this week, apart from adding my congratulations to chairwoman Jacky Nevill and all those involved with Biddulph Festival and so good to learn of the very many people who have taken part and enjoyed all that has been on offer this year. A huge well done to all.
My next drop-in session is on Saturday between 10.30am and 11.30am at the Conservative Club on High Street. You are more than welcome, and County Coun Keith Flunder will also do his best to attend. — Yours faithfully,
COUN IAN LAWSON
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