The forthcoming elections this May are of vital importance for Aycliffe. A letter in the Newton News the other week informed us that the government is cutting £190million from the County Council budget, 2011-2017. Just taking that amount of money out of the local economy will damage the community, never mind the carnage nobody can prevent it making of Council services.
At the same time, these elections will be a judgement on the Coalition government. I am currently running an online facebook diary of my election campaign (you can follow it if you wish at bit.ly/JDClare).
One of the threads I started was a list of ways this government has harmed the less well-off; it got to 40 within an hour. It was an horrific catalogue of injustices – from ATOS, through Bedroom Tax, Crisis Loans abolished, DWP coercion, EMA ended … right through to Universal Credit, VAT rise, Workfare abuses and many, many more. Every one of the measures directly damaged the income or the rights of the less-wealthy (you can see the full list on my blog at bit.ly/ListofShame). Writing it, I was amazed at how extensively, how deeply, and how quickly the Tories have moved to mount their attack on the poor.
This is not a Party political issue (some people will read the list and agree with it). My point is that – whatever one’s attitude to the government – this election is crucial to the future of the County, and to Aycliffe, through the most difficult of times.
The election has started, the calling cards are printed, and I have begun canvassing. I am looking forward to talking with you about the challenges facing the County Council, and how we might address them. If you live in Aycliffe North and Middridge Division, and wish to make sure I speak to you, you can phone me on 01325 318333, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John D Clare