‘VIPs’ didn’t see reality of area

Secretary of State Eric Pickles MP with Tim Webber, Coun. Joe Cooney and  Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson during his visit to Brierfield Mills.
Secretary of State Eric Pickles MP with Tim Webber, Coun. Joe Cooney and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson during his visit to Brierfield Mills.

I refer to your “Restoration tour” report of October 31st on the visit of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to Nelson and Brierfield, which for some reason was splashed across a full page of the Colne Times and the Barnoldswick and Earby Times as well as the Nelson Leader.

Surrounded as he was by the local Conservative bigwigs, I suppose it was unlikely Mr Pickles would be confronted by the reality of what he personally has done to destroy local lives and undermine the finances of Pendle Council.

But, had he gone a few hundred yards down Every Street to Nelson Citizens’ Advice Bureau, he could have sat in on the work being done, day in day out, to sort out the horror stories caused by his slashing of council tax benefit. The only “restoration” visible from that office is in the finances of local bailiffs.

Had he stayed until the recent meeting of Nelson Town Council with Pendle Council he would have seen our new council leaders, Philip Mousdale and Dean Langton, trying to persuade town councillors to help dig the borough council out of the £4m. black hole it is in thanks to Mr Pickles’ slashing of council budgets nationwide.

If the town council does agree to take on services previously run by Pendle, Nelson householders can expect massive increases in the precept part of their council tax bills. And the same applies to every town and parish council in the borough. But, of course, Mr Pickles and Andrew Stephenson and co will be able to continue with their hollow boast of not having put council tax up.

In fact our “VIP” visitor has turned the role of Secretary of State upside down. Instead of fighting to protect his department he seems to have invited the Chancellor to tell him how much local Government is to be cut by, and meekly acquiesced.

Robert Oliver

Langholme Close, Barrowford