Voice of the Leader: March

Once a month we are offering the Leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition the opportunity to talk unedited about.. well, Medway politics. Today we hear from Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council and the Conservative Group.

Alan Jarrett

‘Going forward I promise that we will protect Medway from those who seek to close down facilities and services; against those who belittle Medway and its hard-working people; and against those who snub our military heritage and insult our monarchy.’

Oh my word! My last Political Medway contribution really hit a nerve with the Labour Group! This culminated in a bizarre and obsessive “Truth and Memory” speech from one of them at the Budget Council meeting in February. Apparently it’s all my fault that Labour engage in untruths and hypocrisy! I am reminded of the line from Hamlet – “The lady doth protest too much”!

Ever consistent, Labour produced its election manifesto full of half-truths. Apparently according to Cllr Mrs Murray – it is “deliverable and costed”. It appears Labour has learnt nothing since 2010 when it left that note to the incoming Conservative Chancellor “There’s no money – good luck!” Reading that manifesto left me wondering who really is the Leader of the Labour Group, for it is Cllr Mrs Murray who seems to be calling all the shots. However, more on Labour’s manifesto later.

Instead I want to turn to our Conservative manifesto. I would say this, wouldn’t I? But our numbers really do add up. Simply because Medway’s budget for 2019/20 is built around our manifesto. (Now didn’t Labour vote against every one of our budget proposals? Shamefully that included adding an additional 1% pay award to our hard working staff without whom there would be no services for Medway people! That’s the second year running Labour has pulled that stunt!).

Our manifesto was released without a big razzamatazz. No long-winded hypocritical speeches. No cheap promises. Importantly it builds on the achievements over the last 19 years of Conservative government in Medway. Our strapline of ‘IF YOU VALUE IT, VOTE FOR IT’ says it all. 

The manifesto is in four parts: 1) Providing Value for Money; 2) Serving our community; 3) Celebrating of heritage; and 4) Championing education.

  1. Lowest council tax in Kent. Protect Rochester Airport from Labour plans to close it, creating over 1,000 jobs in the process. Continue to back business and jobs with already over 14,000 businesses calling Medway home.
  2. Freeze car parking charges until 2021 – car parking charges have only gone up once in the last 6 years. Improving our roads. Retain the best waste service in Kent. Support vulnerable people.  Work with NHS to provide more GPs, with new Healthy Living Centres in Hoo, Chatham and Strood. Work with the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner to provide better policing in Medway. Continue to protect Medway’s green spaces.
  3. Secure the commissioning of HMS Medway – planning for September 2019. Respect our rich heritage and culture. Always support our military personnel and military heritage, as the only political party to consistently do so.
  4. Support grammar schools, and campaign for more. Continue to support our universities and college

That then represents a continuous chain of events, building on what we have done over the past 19 years and continues to serve the people of Medway. That is the difference between us Conservatives who have achieved real lasting positive change in Medway for the last 19 years, whilst all Labour has done is tried to block all progress – talking down Medway and denigrating Medway people in the process.

So, let’s return to the Labour manifesto and pick out some particular lowlights. It accuses us of raiding Medway roads repair budget to fund repairs to the Medway Tunnel. So Labour won’t do that then? No repairs to the Tunnel means it will have to close. Under Labour the Medway Tunnel would face closure!

Its other attack on highways funding is to take the service back into public ownership – Labour ideology bringing worse roads and poorer road repairs to Medway. Our Tunnel and roads are not safe with Labour.

In our budget Labour voted against reducing the cost of bulky waste collection. Its own proposal to make the service free was uncosted, and when challenged it offered to take money from elsewhere without saying which service it would cut to fund it. 

On that subject it will scrap our new children’s centre provision, by spending over £4,000,000 we haven’t got – putting up council tax. It promises to give money to the NHS – putting up council tax. Or perhaps it will cut services instead, or perhaps it will go to Labour famed money tree which seemed to have died in 2010!

As well as road repairs Labour will insource our companies, bringing a pressure of almost £1,000,000 in lost income – another 1% increase in council tax. It promises to raid income from Rochester Riverside which is earmarked to repay debt of £7,000,000 in order to ‘protect the future of council services’.

That little lot adds up to £12,000,000 so far. So let’s hear Labour say whether it will cut £12,000,000 of council services or will it increase council tax by over 12%. It has to be one or the other!

A final word from Cllr Maple, the alleged Leader of the Labour Group, from his budget speech on 21st February this year: “We also recognise that a future Labour administration would have 4 years to develop its progressive, forward-thinking, community-focused programme”

Oh dear! That already sounds like an excuse. Code for “Vote for Labour and we’ll take 4 years to do anything!”

A bit like Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of Labour at national level saying Labour will honour the vote of the EU Referendum, but demanding a permanent Customs Union. Being in the Customs Union keeps us in the European Union!

What a pair those two Labour Leaders make: one promising to take 4 years to make any changes in Medway is he gets elected, and increase council tax by over 12%; the other promising to ignore the wishes of the 63% of Medway people who voted to leave the EU. Could you trust either of these two with Medway’s future?

Alan Jarrett is the leader of Medway Council, leader of the Medway Conservative group, and councillor for Lordswood and Capstone.

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7 Replies to “Voice of the Leader: March”

  1. What ridiculous crock of the proverbial. As a disabled pensioner I once upon a time had a care package… Gone…. I later was financed to do an Adult Ed course … Gone…. Library was once easy to access… Moved….. Could drive without excess gridlock…. Days are gone…. Surestart centres…. What were they?……. Could see a Doctor quickly… Now wait hours on the other side of towns or wait weeks at own GP ….. The motorist is the cash cow when no improvement to parking is offerred in streets not designed for motor vehicles….. YES lowest council tax and YES reliable waste collection BUT THATS ALL!

  2. ” Being in the Customs Union keeps us in the European Union!” Sorry Alan, but you know that’s not true.

    Monaco is in the CU but not the EU; while Turkey, Andorra and San Marino have reciprocal arrangements such as the one Labour proposed.

    Indeed many Leave campaigners went on record to state their support for the CU and/or the SM, and their hypocrisy is now on full display.

    If you can not (or more likely will not, you’re not stupid) get basic facts like that correct, why should we trust you on anything else?

    Oh, and ease off the exclamation marks.

  3. Don’t mention the Sure Start Centres.

    Don’t you all realise poor Mr Jarrett was only trying to save children’s services! He was only stopped from completely saving children services because those pesky parents wouldn’t let him close all the centres as he first proposed. After all if you use services too much they might wear out, just like Medway’s CCTV camera, roads, GPs, Adult Education… And when their gone, where’s the money going to come from!!!!!!!

    At least we didn’t over hype our manifesto launch. (We can’t use council money for that) Anyway we couldn’t even If we did want to. The razzamataz budget went up in smoke celebrating the Dutch Wars, The Great Fire of London and The Black Death.

    While on this point I would like to point out the almost treasonous attitude of the Labour councillors to these celebrations. Did they not understand that by refusing to take part they were insulting our Dutch Partners in the E…..U……..err …. what was that…. 68% …… ummmm ..our partners over there in ……..overseas.

    Did I mention our new strap line
    The Conservative Party… The Party that cares….

    Sorry that just broke my irony meter. Fortunately I can mend it again ….unlike Medway’s CCTV cameras.

  4. Hmmm value for money ? Cllr Jarret is on record as saying recently he wants money spent on Chatham Town Centre and to make it the centre of Medway City ? Yet despite a Conservative controlled Government since 2010 , his own party has denied him and the people of Medway City Status . Can anybody watching this Westminster Pantomime “Brexit” ever have any faith in the Conservative party to honour anything the voters actually want. Plenty of hot air no realistic solutions to High Street re-generation , except to allegedly borrow millions of pounds in the hope that they will get a small return on council tax payers money. Nominations not in so the real contenders haven’t published their common sense manifesto yet. I expect the Conservatives to immediately jump on the band wagon and claim the policies as their own , like in 2015 when I campaigned for a £9 per hour minimum wage. Taken up a couple of months later by the Conservatives.

  5. Thanks Cllr Jarrett for letting everyone know that Labour’s manifesto for Medway is costed and deliverable,No more private companies filling potholes with sacks of soft tarmac ,stamping it in with their feet then calling it a road repair.No more vanity projects and no more cuts to push problems further down the line then end up paying more to sort them out.As ever Cllr Jarrett is a penny wise and pound foolish poor fellow.A Labour Medway will be optimistic,bold and trust the people to let us know what they think of our plans and ideas.Medway is brimmi by with potential but Austerity holds that talent back.It’s time for a change

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