Labour accuse Tories of making “cheap jibes” over tax rise and Burntwood Wakes

The leader of Burntwood Town Council has been accused of making “cheap jibes to designed to frighten the public” by the Labour opposition.

Cllr Richard Mosson, leader of the controlling Conservative group on the local authority, had hit back at suggestions from Labour counterpart Cllr Eric Drinkwater that he was “living in cloud cuckoo land” after saying a rise in a portion of the council tax by a more than a third would help bring a feel-good factor back to the town.

Cllr Richard Mosson and Cllr Eric Drinkwater

Cllr Richard Mosson and Cllr Eric Drinkwater

“Is this the same cloud cuckoo land Blair and Brown were living in during years and years of uncontrolled spending which nearly bankrupted the UK?” Cllr Mosson said. “Or is this the same cloud cuckoo land you were in [at the council meeting] last Friday evening where you stated that you agreed with much of what I had to say?”

But Cllr Drinkwater has accused his Conservative rival of scaremongering.

“Cllr Mosson’s reply is full of cheap jibes designed to frighten the public,” he said. “To pull out the old chestnut so many years down the line of Blair and Brown almost bankrupting the country is beyond belief. To start with it is not true because it was a world banking crisis sparked by the banks that caused that.

“The comments I made at the council meeting have been completely misrepresented and although I said that I could agree with some of Cllr Mosson’s comments I also said that the timing was all wrong.

“At the moment all authorities across the country are having to tighten their belts and thousands of local Government workers are losing their jobs as well as family life being totally disrupted for many people. This is due to Cameron and Osborne’s stringent austerity measures.

“Staffordshire County Council and Lichfield District Council are struggling to balance the books and are getting rid of hundreds of workers to reduce the budget. However, the Tory administration in Burntwood are oblivious of all that and are carrying on as if they were in a different world.”

The management of the Burntwood Wakes also came under scrutiny as part of the budget discussions.

Cllr Mosson suggested the Conservatives would improve on local events following a “poorly organised and disjointed Burntwood Wakes” last summer.

But Cllr Drinkwater said those views were “ridiculous” and an insult to those who had worked to put together the event, as well as the people who attended.

“Comments about the Wakes last year are completely unnecessary and untrue,” the Labour councillor said. “It was held at a time when there was reorganisation to reduce the costs.

“The feedback from both the public and community groups involved was very good, so I do not know where Cllr Mosson is getting his information to make such ridiculous comments. Only the inclement weather at a crucial time spoilt the programme.

“He asked what the role of the council is – well rather than a couple of events during the year, it is to have services delivered all the year round to all age groups not just to a captive audience. What about positive activities all the year round for teenagers which is what the youth service used to provide until it was destroyed by his Staffordshire County colleagues to balance the books of course.

“He asked where the community groups organising the events were too. Well there have been groups in Burntwood that organised events in the past.”

The Conservatives on Burntwood Town Council have also accused the previous Labour administration of wasting money on a contract to supply social media updates.

But Cllr Drinkwater hit back: “The comment about wasting thousands is once again cheap because that was done on professional advice and I cannot understand why that source of advice appears to be giving out different advice to his administration.

“And the comments about new found social media skills is once again cheap and I would remind him that it was not me or the Labour group that started doing council business in the media.”

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1 Comment

  1. Rob

    17th February, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    More provocation from labour, is accusing someone of living in cloud cuckoo land not a cheap jibe?