Councillor on Medway Council
Speech delivered to full Council about the 2007–2008 Budget

John Ward

Speech delivered to the full Council meeting on 1st March 2007

Thank you Madam Mayor.

There's so much to discuss, and so little time...

However, I'm not going to go on and on like Councillor Griffiths, Madam Mayor. He is still the "Red Waffler". Some things never change, do they?

The Red Waffler Anyway, let's look first at Capital:

Our capital programme continues apace, Madam Mayor, driven by this Administration‘s vision, commitment and sheer determination to improve Medway. When I moved here some ten years ago, Madam Mayor, I noticed the stagnation and decay that had been allowed to set in by the then Labour-run council.

But then, isn‘t it always the way with socialism, Madam Mayor, as we saw when the Berlin Wall came down, and when outside cameras first went into Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. What did we see in all those places? Yes, uniform drab greyness, stagnation and crumbling decay all around.

Well, that no longer applies in Medway, since we took over running the council!

Now to Revenue:

The LibDems say that funds are not all going north after all, based on documents they have. Well, Madam Mayor, I am well aware of how the official headline figures are made to look the way the Government wants, but I download every year's Council Tax league tables and the settlements, among other material, and can see the truth behind the façade. We all know this is how it's done, Madam Mayor.

Oh, and this "floor damping", taking four-and-a-half million pounds from Medway, is pure theft, Madam Mayor!

Any additional funding for particular areas of the country could and should have been achieved via a Supplementary Vote in Parliament—not by depriving other councils, Madam Mayor. With the countless billions going into Chancellor Gordon‘s "Brown Hole" every year, there ought to be plenty to easily finance such a Supplementary Vote.

[Some time was lost here when the sound system failed for around a minute]

Finally, for the benefit of Members who were not here prior to May 2003, I ought to mention that it was the Labour and LibDem members who proposed a 38% Council Tax rise at a Scrutiny meeting in January 2003, chaired by Councillor Griffiths and even witnessed by several Head Teachers.

Labour and LibDems mean high taxes, but Conservatives keep taxes low!

Thank you Madam Mayor.

John M Ward (Councillor, Rochester South and Horsted)