Letter - Some facts to go with the ‘fantasy’

In reply to Coun Box who, as always, mixes facts with fantasy when criticising Conservative policies compared to Labour’s record; let me remind him and your readers!

Winter Fuel Payments are where they were in 2008 before the pre election “temporary increase” introduced by Alistair Darling, while the so called “bedroom tax” does no more than put council and social landlord tenants on an equal footing with tenants in the private sector.

As if he didn’t know, loan sharks are and remain illegal: if Coun Box intended to refer to the “payday loan” industry, in 2008 a report by the Financial Services Authority to the then Labour Government concluded that reform of this industry was long overdue.

As for Remploy, what Coun Box chooses to ignore is that under Labour, the costs of Remploy to the taxpayer were exorbitant, including massive bonuses to senior managers. A modernisation plan was initiated in 2008 resulting in the “Sayce Review”, promising to concentrate on individuals rather than institutions such as Remploy; and that was after Coun Box’s government had closed at least 28 Remploy workshops.

Regarding banker’s bonuses, one only has to remember Sir Fred “The Shred” Goodwin, knighted by Labour for his services to banking followed by his “early retirement” and oversized pension payoff in 2009, while at least £62bn was paid out in bankers’ bonuses between 2002 and 2009: Labour’s Business Secretary Lord Mandelson encouraged excessive pay and said labour was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich” (The Observer, 21 December 2008).

Even Coun Box and the Labour Group are guilty of encouraging excessive pay by recently awarding a whopping inflation busting 321% pay increase to one of their West Yorkshire Joint Services Representatives; in percentage terms almost enough to make a city banker’s eyes water!

Things in the banking world are still far from perfect, but at least they are now moving in the right direction.

Even before the Labour Government ended, Coun Box had identified the need for Wakefield Council to find massive savings because of financial difficulties, £10.8M in 2010/11; £22.5M in 2011/12 and £28.8M in 2012/13; it is therefore ridiculous for Coun Box not to accept some responsibility for the infamous cuts.

Coun Box also bemoans the fact that we Conservatives do not support their motions: Too right we don’t; Labour councillors will always ensure that their motions, which are often given a sympathetic hearing by the Conservative Group, have enough Labour Party political venom in the wording to guarantee our opposition.

Whenever we try to neutralise that venom and promise support, it is rejected out of hand.

The one point in which I am in full agreement with Coun Box is this; watch the live streaming or recordings of council meetings and see how we councillors represent you, the people who put us there and have the power to dismiss us!

Coun David J Hopkins

Attlee Crescent