Here at R4U we understand that local ‘politics’ can sometimes get in the way of getting the job done. We have had a strong record of presenting the facts, based on the evidence available to highlight local issues. Where we have been shown otherwise, we’ve always corrected them, because the facts are important, not the tit-for-tat banter. Not every party is the same.
It seems that Uttlesford Conservatives have been spreading further malicious and made-up stories about their R4U, Liberal-Democrat and Labour local political opposition. They are trying to deflect from the financial deficit they ran up when they controlled the Saffron Walden Town Council. Six weeks ago the Tories peddled a completely fictitious “shock horror 65% tax hike” story to the local TV news and got found out; then they started bunging out press releases that implied that they weren’t involved in the budget process at all, when they were.
They even wheeled out their District Council Leader, Cllr Howard Rolfe to feign disbelief at what was going on in Saffron Walden, even though he’s not even a Town Councillor and doesn’t live in the town.
Tory donations to attack local councillors
Their stories are becoming more libellous as they get more desperate. Last week they pretended that R4U, Lib-Dem and Labour councillors laughed hysterically as they increased taxes by 49p a week to fix the inherited deficit. No sensible person would believe that ANY councillors of ANY party would laugh as they increased taxes. And when they haven’t been taken seriously by the press, they’ve resorted to spending party donations on social media attack adverts to try to get people to believe their guff. Just look at the ridiculous post below.
If you see one of these posts on Facebook and don’t like it, you can simply get rid of it by clicking the little down “v” arrow at the top right of the post and selecting Hide, or even better use the Report button to flag it as defamation.
Voter turn off
This type political nonsense turns people off – they just want people who will roll up their sleeves and get the hard things done – which is what the other parties on Saffron Walden Town Council did when they delivered a budget to fix the financial hole.
It seems that even the local newspapers have had enough. This week the Walden Local took the unusual decision to post editorial comments that exposed the games being played by the local Conservatives. Click on the image below to read the Walden Local article.
© 2016 Walden Local
In response to the most recent ludicrous claims Cllr Paul Gadd, R4U leader at Saffron Walden Town Council said:
“This is typical of the Saffron Walden Conservatives. Rather than do the hard work and fix a problem they’d rather conjured a series of frankly ludicrous stories to cover their tracks; scaremongering locals, fabricating numbers to cover the past, and intentionally misrepresenting councillors and their motives. Residents are sick of these political pantomimes, which is partly why they voted them out last year. If UDC Leader Rolfe is really ‘appalled’, why isn’t he similarly outraged by the nearly twice as big combined 94p a-week increase from his Tory led County Council and Police and Crime Commissioner? And what about the £2 million of taxpayers’ money that he lost directly when his Uttlesford Local Plan was rejected?”
“The actual truth is quite simple. The last Conservative Town Council administration spent 11% more than they got in from Council Taxes. To cover up they raided the General Reserves, which were left nearly half-a-million pounds short – ‘woefully low’ according to Council Officers. They also failed to maintain the Town Hall, which now has scaffolding on it to stop bits falling on passers-by. In fact recently the insurance company withdrew storm-cover and it’s now costing £1,000 a-week more just to keep the public safe. It is a shocking betrayal of taxpayers’ trust. No wonder they’ve been trying to hide it.”
Same old party politics
“Would residents really rather see the Town Council forced into bankruptcy and the Town Hall bulldozed? Councillors who care about the town have done the right thing. We now have a balanced budget, and for the first time ever, a 5-year financial plan. The 2016 budget was worked on by all parties, and I mean all parties. This included Conservative Cllr Keith Eden who worked on the budget sub-committee and personally approved every single line-item. That was before he decided to play party-politics by publicly voting against it.”
Be part of the solution, not the problem
“We believe that tax payers want councillors that are honest, accountable and come up with solutions, even if they are difficult ones. There is no joy in increasing taxes, but Saffron Walden Council Tax had to increase by a small amount to fix the inherited deficit. An average Band-D property will pay 49p a-week more, and a Band-A property with Income Support will pay 4p a-week more – that is just over £2 a-year. Whilst any increase is disappointing, it is crass political mischief-making by Cllrs Eden, Rolfe and their cohorts to suggest that this will cause people to leave Saffron Walden in droves.“