We can finally see exactly what a steaming pile Labour's "consultation" amounts to. With the quite laughable phrase " an (almost) Premiership football team" it's clear that this has been a back of a fag packet job from the Labour stream of consciousness as channeled through Jon Hartley.
This sham consultation has been exposed as a simple harvesting exercise so that they can sell your details to third parties. Of course, like all RBC exercises there is an amount of duplicity in this. The web site form says:
This data will be stored securely and electronically, and will not be shared with any external organisations,
Yet the leaflet you pick up at the Civic Offices not only details that they want to be able to send your details to third parties, but the default option is that you agree to having your details available for sale to marketing companies. You have to opt out!
The consultation leaflet reads as a piece of Labour propaganda funded by the council tax payer which I can't believe was nodded through by officers even though it should fall foul of ultra vires being a clearly partisan reading of the financial predicament Labour left us in.
The sham extends deeper and is a supreme exercise of passing the buck about the financial mess Labour left the town in. Residents are not being given access to all the information required to respond to, as they put it, "difficult budget decisions".
For example, how many residents, pleased they have benefited from Labour's restoration of "green" waste collections, realise that their £22.50 windfall will mean that at least two jobs are being axed from Arts, Museums and Libraries? Grass cutting and leaf clearing is being mown down? The planning department is having its in-year budgets slashed? These aren't "savings" they are additional cuts which Labour refused to reveal properly in their cabinet papers and they have done all they can to keep the details of these cuts secret. Yet we know that 91% of people were willing to pay the charge so these cuts to jobs and services are completely unnecessary.
How many knowing these facts would now feel happy about their "free" collections and that's without even considering that the green credentials of the scheme are quite bogus. How many more jobs are residents prepared to see Labour chop for no good reason?
Labour's way is to steal from the poor to give to the rich. It was they who bailed out the bankers. It was they who removed the 10% tax band from the poorest. It was they who gave non-domiciled billionaires a huge tax break and now we see 25% of the wealthiest people in the town (because let's face it, you need a big back garden to justify having a 240 litre green bin) being subsidised by the poor. Staff are losing their jobs and services are being slashed to pay for Labour's uncosted election bribes, just as I predicted.
But that's Labour's way of reacting to having no money. They will desperately try to blame it on the coalition whilst wielding the axe but these are Labour's cuts and Labour's alone. Why do we know that? Because the axe isn't falling in the Environment department. It's other departments which are suffering because Labour cannot balance the books in Environment to pay for their uncosted promises and they are denying residents the information required to make informed decisions.
If Labour have suddenly decided to be honest with the public, let's see them publish the full list of budget options currently being worked on right now by officers. They should be public documents to allow residents to make in informed choice. Without them, it's a consultation worthy of complete contempt.