Thursday, 9 April 2009

Ex-councillors leave Labour over funding issue

Taken from an article in the Northern Echo:

Former members of a district council have announced they are leaving the Labour Party.

Carl Christer and his mother Hilary were members of Derwentside district council before it was replaced by Durham county council.

They said the reason for the change of political allegiance was because of increases in council tax to fund the new Stanley town council. They blame Durham north mp Kevan Jones, who was responsible for proposing and supporting the creation of the council.

Mr Christer, who has represented the ward of Annfield plain since 2001, said: “the town council is a glorified talking shop and now they are taking money out of people’s pocket to massage their own egos at a time when people can ill afford it.

“Kevan Jones and the labour party are completely out of touch with the views of real local people and it is clear that there has been no real regard to local people in this matter.”

The council tax precept for a band d property to support the town council is about £110 a year per household.

Mrs Christer, who represented Catchgate, said: “this will affect some of the least well off members of our community. We have raised a number of concerns about the handling of this process from the start, and it is clear from talking to the local people that they have real concerns.”

Tom Pattison, Chairman of Stanley town council, declined to comment.

Me Jones said: “it is sad and ironic that two days after they are no longer getting paid as councillors, they have decided to take this stance. It is also sad that they were not brave enough to contact me before going to the papers.”

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