Dear Sir,

In response to criticisms in last week’s Newton News:


Cllr. Chandran knows full well that the rules do not allow a councillor to take part in a decision which might affect them financially. Since double taxation will affect Durham County Council, which pays my councillor’s allowance, I consulted the DCC legal officers, who informed me in writing that, yes, I should declare an interest.

I am sure Cllr. Chandran thinks he knows better. But what kind of councillor do you want – one who breaks the rules if it suits him, or councillors like the five County Councillors who listened to the legal advice?

The other reason I left the meeting, of course, is that DCC Councillors see a different side to double taxation to the Town Councillors, and I felt it important that, on this issue, the decision should be the Town Council’s alone. As it was, the Town Councillors saw through Cllr. Stead’s electioneering motion and turned it down; but can you imagine what the opposition would be saying now if any County Councillors’ votes had been included in that result – I suspect they would be shouting ‘FINANCIAL INTEREST!’ just as loudly as they are crying ‘DISGUSTED!’ now.


I am the County Councillor whom Cllr. Robson acknowledged had written about double taxation “in a lucid and intelligent way” on social media, and you can read what I wrote here:

Double Taxation is NOT a clash between councillors who care about Newton Aycliffe and those who do not. It is a wrangle between the Town Council and the County Council about which of them should pay for certain services.

In short, the Town Council provides some services that, strictly, it need not provide, but does so because it believes that it can do so in a more immediate and informed way. It just thinks that the County Council ought to help with the costs.

The inevitability of that matter however is that – whichever Council stumps up – we are going to have to hand over some of our Council Tax to pay for those services.

The difference it would make to our Council Tax bill is, genuinely, pennies.

Cllr. John D Clare