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  • Writer's pictureJoemustdobetter - official

Election Time - make sure you know what's true and what isn't... And who's to blame for what.

THE HEADLINES!


Simon Jupp criticises EDDC services and Council Tax Rises - They’ve risen by £5 a year, a tiny proportion of those increases from DCC and the police, both controlled by his Conservative friends.


Car Parking Price Rises have been a disaster and are killing towns - They haven’t, car park usage has remained at the same level and for those with a permit, it’s actually cheaper in some cases. The Tories admitted recently they should have looked at raising prices when they were in power.


EDDC are closing toilets - EDDC are refurbishing some, adding new facilities and leasing some toilets which will retain a publicly accessible loo. Some are being sold off. The Tories hadn’t invested in them for years so they’re crumbling, and had plans to simply close many before 2019.


The Tory Election Machine needs to do better than that if they are to regain control of EDDC.



THE MORE DETAILED RANTING EXPLANATION!


The political silly season is upon us - where unrealistic, crazy things are said in the name of winning votes. And I’ll admit, I don’t think I can stand by my pledge that ‘I am not a politician’ any more, but as an independent I can still stand up for what’s right and truthful.


As someone who has tried to tell you nothing but the truth throughout my time as a councillor, this makes my blood boil to be honest. Call it spin, call it bending of the truth - whatever. Be it the Conservative leaflet outlining their plans with a questionable postal vote reminder (see later), or this article on Simon Jupp MP’s website - it’s full of proper tear your hair out, half telling of the facts. Horrible stuff. Simon has a problem with EDDC’s administration (who I have worked alongside) because it’s one of the factors outside of his control in the district - it is not run by Conservatives and will not kowtow to his wishes. This is his attempt at undermining them.




First some context. Over the last decade, EDDC has seen a real terms reduction in its funding of £50 million. £50 million! That will be through a combination of smaller government annual grants (a trend only reversed in the last couple of years but not to the extent previous cuts are covered), withdrawal of other funding schemes and the cost of ever rising inflation. How is any organisation supposed to continue to offer the same level of services given that? Add to that the fact that we were told LED Leisure would get a government bail out to cover lost income from COViD only to have that largely withdrawn - we’re talking EDDC having to cover upwards of a million pounds from its reserves in two payments.


Yet somehow, EDDC have got through - no significant closures of any one area, ever more efficiency savings and at the end of the 4 years of this council, the administration have managed to keep council tax rises to a minimum and have come up with a budget that is balanced ie not putting the council into debt.


EDDC’s part of the council tax rise accounts for £5 a year - 3.14 percent, or less than 10p a week.


How is that a massive hike?

Even in these trying times, it’s nothing compared to the overall increase. Conservative controlled Devon County Council are raising their total precept by 4.99 percent if you include the social care element. Yes, they run more services, but why isn’t that scandalous?


The police part of your council tax has risen by £15 a year - again due to a lack of central funding, but why isn’t that an outrage? Ask Conservative Police Commissioner, and long time campaign trail ally of Mr Jupp,  Alison Hernandez, I reckon.


So how have we managed to keep our rise so low?


We have increased car parking charges.

However, at the last full council meeting in February, the Conservative leader Cllr Skinner said ‘I admit we probably should have looked at raising them sooner’. They were artificially kept low for years for electoral gain, despite the maintenance costs for car parks and enforcement costing more and more. We had no choice but to do what they should have done years earlier.

Car parks are just as full as they ever were - the figures back that up.

And, if you use an EDDC car park for more than two hours a week, if you get a parking permit, from upwards of only £10 a month, your parking costs may actually be less than before.


The current administration are looking at closing a few, and repurposing some other, public toilets. Those that are turned into cafes or community buildings will retain a publicly accessible toilet.I’m told that the previous administration in 2019 had a toilet closure plan too. The then Conservative administration didn’t plan on keeping so many open though, as they weren’t looking to repurpose them as EDDC now are. That appeared just before the 2019 election and as it was considered bad news for their chances, they decided not to push on with it at that point.


EDDC don’t have any obligation to provide toilets by law - but obviously they want to. East Devon’s toilets had received no significant investment in more than a decade, and are in a terrible state, almost derelict in some cases. Running costs increase exponentially and, what with having £50 million less in real terms in our budget, we’re left with little choice. But the repurposing is a clever and imaginative way of retaining toilet provision without other things having to suffer. Charges will also allow EDDC to completely rebuild and refurbish the toilets we keep open, and build state of the art accessible changing room toilets on the sea front. So the question to be asked is, what magical plan would the Tories have come up with? Ask them if they visit you on the doorstep.


A few of the other things Simon has mentioned… 


Calling for a review of the East Devon Local Plan. We’re only half way through that process and more consultation will follow. It’s a mistruth to suggest otherwise.


‘Liberal Democrat’s and Independent councillors’ say what we’re against not what we’re for - for the past 3 years the administration at EDDC has been clearing up the mess left by the Conservatives that came before them - quite all consuming at times.


But I have my beliefs and people know them.


Simply put, I believe in fairness and transparency across all areas of the council, working to make peoples’ lives better overall.


Be that in housing, the environment, doing casework for vulnerable residents, ensuring public safety at licensing.


It's a simple premise - do what we can to help people.


I also believe in the work East Devon are doing to finally come up with an affordable yet exciting solution to the Queen’s Drive Space and need to take that vision into the rest of the town, such as coming up with a solution to The Strand outside spaces.


I believe passionately in protecting our environment and think South West Water should be held to account - something Mr Jupp is now doing.


So yes, Simon… I have beliefs.


Finally, you may have recieved a letter recently from the Conservative group regarding securing your postal vote - with a pre-paid envelope addressed to the East Devon Conservative Group. This is at best data mining, as worst leaving yourself open to not getting your postal vote.


Send it back to EDDC only! You'll find the address on the letter.


Vote wisely folks!

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