Thursday, 10 July 2008

One year on: higher taxes, services cut and communities gagged

Giles McNeill comments on end of year report for Gordon Brown

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, this week delivered his verdict on Gordon Brown’s first year as Prime Minister, highlighting Government policies which are adding to the rising cost of living, bringing about the closure of local services and silencing the voice of local communities.

· Soaring taxes at time of rising cost of living: Families and pensioners are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, but Government taxes are making it even harder. Families have lost out due to the 10p income tax debacle and rising council tax bills. Higher, retrospective car taxes and new bin taxes are on the way. The housing market is slowing, tied up in the new red tape of Labour’s Home Information Packs and hit by Gordon Brown’s punitive stamp duty, compounding the effect of the credit crunch.

· Cuts to local services: In a Government programme of massive cuts, 2,500 post offices are being closed across the country. 1,000 shops which double up as post offices are expected to close if their post office business is axed. Another 3,000 post offices are under threat due to the end of the Post Office Card Account. On top of this, 1,700 family doctor surgeries could close down across England, under Labour plans for large and remote ‘polyclinics’ to replace local GPs.

· Silencing the voice of local communities: Under new planning laws being pushed through Parliament, local councils will lose any say over large, controversial planning applications. A new Labour quango – the Infrastructure Planning Commission – will take control, enforcing planning rules imposed by Ministers with no say for Parliament. The people of Britain have also been denied any say over the European Constitution (also known as the Lisbon Treaty), after Gordon Brown went back on his promise to hold a referendum.

Giles said:
“One year on from Gordon Brown becoming Prime Minister, the country is going in the wrong direction – with looming cuts to local services, a soaring cost of living fuelled by higher taxes and local people consistently ignored by Whitehall.

“Gordon Brown has no big vision for Britain and no answers to the long-term challenges we face. People in this country are desperate for change: to improve the NHS, to raise standards in schools and to fight back against crime. They need a government that is on their side and not on their backs like Gordon Brown.”

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