12 January 2015
Our key responses to Telford and Wrekin's latest budget proposals, as published in the Shropshire Star:
Could the leaders of Telford & Wrekin Council assure taxpayers that the £1 million fund it has established to improve its high streets will not go straight into the pockets of the chain stores that already dominate them?
Such money would be better spent offering help to small, local businesses so they can set up on our high streets. The council could use this money to discount business rates for small businesses or reduce rents where they own the property.
Telford’s high streets need something to make them stand out, and throwing money to help people shop at the same chains in every district is not going to do that.
The council has already missed an opportunity by allowing Southwater to be dominated by brands such as Mimosa, Harvester and Pizza Express. We hope this money will be directed to help local business people to bring a sense of character to Telford and shift it away from its clone town status.
Also – could the council explain why it has chosen the over 50s to benefit from free swimming sessions? Put your money where your mouth is. Make the sessions free for those on benefits (who already receive discounts on leisure service loyalty cards, so it shouldn’t be hard to organise). Why on earth should the taxpayer be funding swimming sessions for company managers, directors and some of the wealthiest members of the borough because they’ve turned 50?
On the whole the Green Party supports the efforts made by Telford & Wrekin to balance its budget as central Government seeks to attack the basic services of people through continued austerity measures.
Cath Edwards, Telford & Wrekin Green Party spokeswoman, Edgmond