Rents, Spin, Tax and Political Ambition

For many years, I’ve seen political ping-pong at both national and local level, but often the full facts are not being disclosed when politics is spun.  For example, last week we had a press release issued by Crawley’s Labour council where the Cabinet Member for Housing was taking credit for a 1% annual rent reduction for our council tenants. However, the reality is that rent reductions of 1% for four successive years have been mandated by central government, but this fact was missing in the local press release.

Last week was also the full council meeting at Crawley Borough Council which discussed their annual budget.  With the Council Leader also being Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Crawley, I’ve noticed that the Council is increasingly being used by Labour councillors as a vehicle to promote their Council Leader’s parliamentary ambitions, which in turn directly contributes to Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.  Indeed, in debate the Council Leader himself referred to Crawley as a “constituency”, which is of course only a parliamentary description and not a council one.

I see a clear correlation between the greater the number of Labour councillors in Crawley, the greater platform they have to promote their local leader/parliamentary candidate, which directly leads to their ultimate goal of making Jeremy Corbyn Britain’s Prime Minister.   

With this backdrop, many things become highly politicised.  The Council’s budget meeting was a prime example.  We heard all the usual spin of “protecting from tory cuts” and “balancing the budget despite tory government cuts” from the Labour side, but with the full picture never being presented.  So it was left to me and my colleagues to present the fuller picture, pointing out how the last Labour government so badly wrecked the public finances, that any incoming governments from 2010 would have had to make major funding reductions to local government, and how the last Conservative administration at Crawley Borough Council made £8 million of savings, leaving the council in excellent shape for when Labour took over.  Differences of opinion I respect, but what I don’t like seeing is political spin that it is disingenuous.      

 

Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group

6th March 2019