January 12, 2011


The New Year started with VAT going up.

There is the increase in the price of fuel. Loads of people have told me how much extra it is costing them to fill up their car.


The owner of the garage in Maghull who serviced my car told me this was a big worry to him. As well as the cost of petrol and diesel, he has to increase his prices and other businesses have to do the same because of VAT. This means people have less to spend either with him or with anyone else who runs a business here.


Another Maghull resident who is a lorry driver, told me that the VAT rise means higher prices which may put his job at risk as his boss loses customers who can't pay more for their goods to be delivered.


And then there are all the people who drive to work. The increase in the price of fuel is just one example of rising prices and of course fuel has gone up twice recently because the government also raised fuel duty.


The private sector is still finding it tough so increasing costs for business does not make sense to me. The effect on some of our most vulnerable residents is harder than on the rest of us.


VAT on heating, on clothes and on some food has all gone up as well. Before the election, the Lib Dems said the increase in VAT would cost an extra £389 per family this year. Now of course the Lib Dems are all in favour of increasing VAT.




I see that the Lib Dems are blaming others for the dreadful approach to clearing the snow in Sefton. I shall resist the temptation to question what their responsibility is as they are they have the largest group of councillors in Sefton, the leader of the council is Lib Dem and they also run Maghull Town Council.


I have written a lot recently about how bad the snow was and about the need to learn from other councils who did a much better job. Along with the Labour Action Team, I spoke to residents in Crosby, Formby, Maghull and Aintree about the snow and it has been the issue of greatest concern to people in recent months.


I have passed on the comments from residents to Sefton Council and have discussed them with my Labour colleagues on the council. Thank you to everyone in Sefton who has written to me about this issue and who has mentioned the snow when we have been out talking to people during our roving surgeries.


One thing is for sure, Sefton Council has to learn from what went wrong last month and make sure the roads are properly cleared next time it snows. But that won't be easy as the huge government cuts mean there will be little or no money for snow clearance or the road repairs afterwards.




Another story to hit the news this month has been the tax on bankers' bonuses. The Labour government raised £3.5billion by taxing bankers' bonuses and it seems to me that the coalition government should be doing the same thing. Yet it seems that the Chancellor, George Osborne, has given up trying to stop the bankers paying themselves obscene amounts of money, all the time the bankers are paying themselves more and more.


The government tells us that we are all in this together. Meanwhile, we have a millionaire Tory Prime Minister, millionaire Tory Chancellor and millionaire Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister letting a few hundred of their millionaire banker friends pay themselves what they like.


To put this in context, the poorest 10 million people in the country are paying an extra £7 billion in increases in VAT and cuts in benefits. There must be a fairer way of tackling the deficit than this.

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