Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Your "local" Conservative Councillor

The recently elected Conservative councillor for South Blyth ward on Blyth Town Council has given his address on his register of interests form as New Hartley.

I know that there is no legal requirement for a councillor to live in the area of his town or parish council, or own property in the area, but it doesn't exactly back up the word "local" does it?

Note for people outside this area, New Hartley is a village about 5 miles away, covered at parish level by Seaton Valley Community Council

Monday, 29 May 2017

Blyth Town Council meetings - June 2017

Blyth Town Council has confirmed its calendar of meetings for June 2017

They are:-

Thursday 1st June      Town Meeting ( although technically not a BTC meeting it is included for completeness)

Tuesday 6th June       Environmental Services

Thursday 8th June     Allotments Committee

Tuesday 13th June     Events  Committee

Thursday  15th June   Planning & Development Committee

Tuesday 20th June      Policy Working Group  ( The public may not be admitted to this meeting, as it is a Working Group and not a committee meeting )

Tuesday 27th June      Staff Committee

Thursday 29th June   Finance Committee

All meetings start at 6:30, at Arms Evertyne House

A busy month for BTC , and an introduction to new councillors of how busy they will have to be ...

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Bin Collections Week Commencing 29th May 2017

As Monday 29th May is a Bank Holiday, bin collections are put back a day next week

So, if your usual collection day is a Monday, it will be put back to Tuesday ... etc

Next week is a blue ( dry recycling ) and brown ( garden waste ) bin collection week

Any questions, contact Northumberland County Council or your local councillor

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Blyth Town Council , Meetings for May 2017

There are three meetings of Blyth Town Council on the calendar for May

Thursday May 1tth - Annual Meeting of the Full Council ( "The Mayor making ") *

Thursday 18th May - Planning & Development Committee *

Tuesday 30th May - Events Committee

All meetings start at 6:30 pm and will be at Arms Evertyne House

These meeting dates are different to those previously advertised, due to the late declaration of the results of the elections

Local elections 2017

Well, the dust is beginning to settle, and I'm looking at a few free evenings over the next 4 years !!

I knew I had no chance in the Northumberland County Council elections in Cowpen Ward, and so it was no real surprise that I came a distant 4th there. It is important to stand in the "no chance wards" as every one should have the opportunity to have Lib Dem candidates on the ballot

I was defending my seat on Blyth Town Council in South Blyth ward, but came third, three votes behind second place.

The overall political balance of the council remains the same:-

Labour 12 ( plus 1 but down 1 )

Liberal Democrat 3 ( plus 1 but down 1 )

Other ( UKIP down 1 , Conservative up 1 )

The council has lost some familiar faces - ( and a couple of not so familiar ones as they rarely attended meetings, barely enough to remain councillors! ) and I will miss the work , the chance to help constituents, and to be a part of community governance. .

My personal thanks and congratulations to Councillors Lesley Rickerby, Jeff Reid,  and Sandra Stanger , who took the second seat in Plessey ward from Labour. I'm sure they will fly the flag for Liberal Democracy in Blyth.

I will miss being a councillor. With the exception of the few months between the abolition of Blyth Valley Borough Council and the elections to Blyth Town Council I was a councillor for over 22 years. It was an honour to serve the people of Blyth, and the wards of South Beach, South Blyth and Plessey over those years.

As I approach my 60th birthday ( aargh  I'm getting old ! ) I will have to consider if I am to try to retake the seat in four years. But for now, rest and concentrate on building up the new venture ... more of which in another post .

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Postal Vote Problems in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council have contacted candidate in the County Elections and Town / Parish Elections regarding a postal ballot printing error

Apparently a relatively small number of electors have been sent incorrect ballot paper packs missing one of the ballot papers.

In South Blyth 8 electors ( out of 1131 postal voters ) are affected.

Replacement packs will be issued. If an elector has already voted, they will have to submit a further vote, and their original one will be destroyed.

The voters can be identified by the bar code on the envelope, but not their chosen candidate(s) so the original votes can be destroyed without opening.

A third party contractor's error has been blamed, and any voter who thinks that they are affected but not identified by NCC in this exercise should contact the Elections team on 01670 624811  

Friday, 7 April 2017

VAT on private education?

The latest announcement by the Labour Party to fund free school meals for all children of primary age seems, at first glance, a reasonable one.

After all, the rich can afford school fees, so they can afford a further 20% tax can't they?

Labour say that the schools can afford it, but as a sales tax VAT has to be charged on the sales ( ie added to the selling price )

Well, look at the actual way this might work.

Any business has to register for VAT if they make taxable supplies over a certain ( registration) limit.  The VAT that that business charges becomes output tax and is passed on to HMRC on the (usually) quarterly VAT return.

But, any VAT incurred by a registered business in making taxable supplies becomes recoverable as input tax. So the business only passes on the nett amount of tax after deduction of input tax.

So, in this scenario, the VAT raised is reduced by the VAT now recovered by the school.

But, what if that school decides to build a new extension, or refurbish the inside , or buy new furniture?  Great for the suppliers of those  services, but the school will be able to recover the VAT incurred and if that capital cost is greater than the income in a particular quarter the school has a VAT repayment situation.

I know that this won't happen every quarter, but has it been considered in the announcement?

Figures that are being bandied about show that VAT on fees could raise 1.5 billion pounds in a year, but that free school meals would actually cost about half of this ( £700 million has been mentioned)

So what happens to the surplus?

This plan is a great headline grabber, and I applaud the attempt at striving for free school meals for all, but I am definitely not convinced by the practicality of it.