Kidsgrove Town Council has announced it will not increase council tax for the next financial year after setting out its budget for 2014/15. The Labour controlled council once again voted to freeze the precept to try and offset the cost of living crisis. Councillors recognise that the people of Kidsgrove are being squeezed due to central government cuts and hikes in energy costs. The budget passed unanimously.
It was also agreed during the budget setting process that Christmas lights in Kidsgrove Town Centre are a shambles and virtually non-existent. Therefore £2000 has been set aside and the council will be looking for match funding from the Kidsgrove Town Team, Kidsgrove Rotary Club and other partners/organisations in the locality. The Kidsgrove Town Team, also known as Go Kidsgrove is currently in the process of looking at town centre decorations and events.
Newchapel Councillor and town team board member, Elsie Bates said: “It’s about time we do something about the Christmas lights in Kidsgrove because over the years they have just disappeared. I agree that times are tough but we must do our best to bring the feel good factor back to Kidsgrove and give people something to look forward to.”
The Town Council has also made the decision to invest £25,000 in security fencing for the allotments off Lamb Street. The site has been targeted by vandals and thieves over a long period of time and it was agreed something urgent needed to be done to improve security and remedy the problems. Members of the allotments committee made very clear that they were extremely pleased with the decision to secure the site.
Kyle say’s: “I am delighted that for a fifth year running we have made the decision to freeze the precept to leave hard earned money in peoples pockets. We have a fantastic town already and this is a budget full of positivity and town improvements – as well as a realistic eye for the future. The council achieved this freeze by acting responsibly with public money and saving in the good times. Although the town council’s share of annual tax bills is small, any saving is significant.”
The new tax year begins on April 1st. It is believed Newcastle Borough Council will also pass a Council tax freeze at its full council meeting in February.
On Monday 30th September students of the Kidsgrove Youth Parliament consisting of elected students from Clough Hall Technology School and the University Academy of Kidsgrove visited the Houses of Parliament in London. The educational trip that was funded by donations from the Rotary club of Kidsgrove, The Meadow Residents association and others was a huge success and very rewarding for the young people involved.
The visit included a tour of the House of Commons, The House of Lords and Portcullis House. There was also elections and voting sessions where the young people created their own manifestos and campaigns. Leaders of the groups were then put to the test by making speeches to an audience and then going to the polls to see who won. National voting systems were also explained including the UK’s current system of first past the post and Europe’s system of proportional representation.
The KYP also delivered a letter signed by every member asking the Department of Transport to support Kidsgrove’s campaign for a ramp at the railway station. With the current footbridge members of the public in wheelchairs, elderly people and people with push chairs cannot get to platforms 2,3 and 4.
Following on from the Houses of Parliament visit KYP members got to visit many parts of London and had the chance to go on the London Eye as an added reward for all of their hard work. Many of the young people commented how much they were enjoying the visit as they had never visited the capital city before.
Since a young age I have been passionate about giving young people a voice in our community. This whole project is not about politics or politicising children but about helping young people to understand our democratic system. A lot of people this day in age leave school not knowing much about how government works or their entitlement to vote. This usually leads to lack of understanding and people not knowing how to speak up for their communities. I want to change things and make sure the young people of Kidsgrove grow up to be tomorrows leaders which intern leads to a better deal for us all. If we don’t include young people now we can’t expect them to be involved in the future. Our visit was very successful and I would like to thank the KYP members for everything they have done for our town so far and I am sure the hard work will continue.
Many thanks, Councillor Kyle Robinson
The election results for the County Council divisions of Kidsgrove and Talke & Red Street reveal how local people have turned their back on UKIP and the Liberal Democrats. Against all the odds Labours Margaret Astle beat incumbent UKIP Councillor Geoff Locke into 2nd place. This has sent a shockwave through local UKIP who were ‘quietly confident’ of a win in the Kidsgrove division. The protest vote wasn’t strong enough to stop the Labour team following years of local community work and activism. There is no denial that the vote was close and there was a clear protest vote against the Coalition Government.
The Talke and Red Street results were just as spectacular with Labours John Taylor picking up almost 50% of the vote. The message has been clear on the doorstep. Residents are happy with our ward work and want us to continue the fight against deep and damaging cuts to local services. People want their council tax spent wisely on the roads, schools and health services. Now that Labour has formed a strong opposition the Tories have lots to worry about at County Hall.
I would like to touch on the non-existent campaign the Liberal Democrats ran in Kidsgrove. The Kidsgrove candidate was quite clearly a paper candidate as she was shopping on Election Day rather than speaking to people on the doorstep. This reflected in the result as the candidate only picked up 4% of the vote.
But I turn my attention to the Leader of the Kidsgrove Liberal Democrats, Dennis Richards. Mr Richards put out a leaflet in Butt Lane that attempted to vilify local people and also politicise a Community Centre. He desperately tried to make political gain out of a venue used by people from all walks of life in the community. He even managed to get its committee members to nominate him to stand as a local Councillor yet months before claimed ‘politics have no place here’! Mr Richards will reap what he sows and will regret his spiteful attack on hard working local people who care about the community. He claimed his intervention meant the community facility was thriving but his vote wasn’t thriving when he only managed to scrape fourth in the election behind the Conservatives and picked up just 6% of the vote. If he spent more time dedicating himself to the community and less time claiming credit for other peoples work he may have actually had a better chance of winning an election. Gutter politics have hopefully left Kidsgrove for the time being but I won’t hold my breath.
Newcastle – Kidsgrove – results
Margaret Astle – Labour – 1183 – 44% – Elected
Geoffrey Locke – UK Independence Party – 1097 – 41%
Pam Jellyman – Conservative – 304 – 11%
Lynda Irene Griffiths – Liberal Democrats – 118 – 4%
Newcastle – Talke and Red Street – results
John William Taylor – Labour – 1368 – 48% Elected
Alexander Jozef Wright – UK Independence Party – 928 – 33%
James Vernon – Conservative – 333 – 12%
Dennis John Richards – Liberal Democrats – 181 – 6%
Rebecca Anne Carter – Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts – 35 – 1%