Previous correspondents are quite right. Local government is in a bad way. Radical measures of reform are required in raising local finance by introducing an efficient system of local income tax reflecting residents’ ability to pay rather to replace an arbitrary
system allegedly based on property values. With turnout in local elections in many boroughs well below 20% and falling, the electoral system itself is archaic. The vast majority of seats are permanently held by either the Labour or Conservative parties, in some areas with little or no opposition in council chambers. Mismanagement is rife. Some failed local authorities already face the prospect of direct rule by anonymous officials in Whitehall. Only a minority of seats are held by genuine Independents and Liberal Democrats. No wonder there is so much apathy and dissatifaction.
Lionel King, Chadwick End
I note in your recent coverage of the ongoing saga regarding the police station that you have chosen to give a prominent airing to Julian Knight’s petition against its closure but not to the rationale provided by the West Midlands Police for doing so.
In their open letter to residents, the police made it clear that they are committed to making the most efficient use of the limited resources that are left to them after the real terms cuts made by our Conservative government. Anyone who has visited Solihull police station in recent years will know that it is almost empty of officers and staff which is obviously a wasteful operating model.
If the Police can save money and officers jobs by moving to a more cost-effective premises then why would anyone oppose them? The answer of course is simple – political expediency. To lose a visible symbol like the police station will cause the Conservatives an embarrassing loss of face and highlight the true cost of their cuts to the electorate. To suggest that the Police should raid their emergency reserves to keep an empty inefficient building open demonstrates ridiculous short termism which flies in the face of the sensible economic planning the Conservatives nominally pride themselves upon. Mr Knight’s stance on this issue is deeply cynical and his motives should be questioned.
My wife is thoroughly fed up with Brexit. So, last week she insisted that I have a break from surfing the net on Brexit and join her for a mid-week day out.
We chose to have lunch at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield. It was very busy and buzzing with lots of lively people.
I popped my head into one of the conference rooms. A hundred or so people were in attendance. What were they discussing?
It was a seminar for UK businesses on Brexit. They were discussing the importance of the smooth flow of millions of manufactured components travelling constantly between the West Midlands and the European continent. How would Brexit impact on those supply chains?
For our vehicle and aerospace industry it is a problem that cannot be ignored. Any barriers interrupting that flow will be highly damaging to what is now continent- wide integrated manufacture systems.
I wondered how much time and resources was currently being devoted to such matters at the expense of work on increasing investment and how to improve productivity.
Well we really enjoyed our lunch but did not manage to escape Brexit.
Phil Beyer Solihull