Council Budget ‘another slap in the face’ for Islanders


© Daryll Pitcher / Twitter

The Isle of Wight  Council Budget for 2019/2020 is yet another slap in the face for the people of the Island according to UKIP PPC, Daryll Pitcher.

It delivers a massive increase in tax and higher charges along with a reduction in services and reduced provision. Of particular concern are the reductions to the Adult Social Care budget and the home support package along with a review of all care packages.

Comments such as “No further impact on clients” show just how far this council has fallen, and the contempt that Westminster holds for us in mandating these cuts.

Another concern is the proposed reduction in careers advice provision. In a statement, Mr Pitcher said “While I understand that this is a school issue given that we need to provide the best possible start for our children the proposed saving of £25,000 seems like fools gold. We should invest in our future and not just hope for the best.

‘Introducing charges for evening parking is just a slap in the face for very many Islanders. It seems that this introduction is because the current system is not economically viable. Could I suggest that a reduction in current parking charges may actually bring in greater revenue and that costs could be saved by removing equipment and enforcement from those rural areas where it was introduced a few years ago? At that time, many voices including my own said that these car parks were unsuitable for charging. Have we now been proved correct?

‘How can it be right that a million pounds can be found from within the PFI contract and used for savings, when there are a great many traffic related issues that need finance and that will not get the green light? If money can be found in the contract then it should be used to improve our infrastructure not salami sliced to balance the books.

“To conclude it is clear from the budget paper that the Isle of Wight Council is still in very poor shape financially and that at present central government are deaf to our concerns. We have a unique set of circumstances here such as an elderly population, an underachieving education sector and an economy that needs support and investment that at present the Council cannot provide. The UKIP devolution proposal would alleviate many of these problems. Any agreement would include a financial settlement that would recognise the extra responsibilities. This would be our chance to make a case for financial support particularly in health and social care. The addition freedoms granted would enable us to invest and reinvigorate our economy with associated long-term benefits to the Islands budget. At the same time, devolved education could start on the process of fixing the system so that we can produce the workforce our Island needs in order to thrive.”

Mr Pitcher feels the main failure of the Isle of Wight Councils Budget for 2019/2020 is not so much in the detail but in the big picture.

“We do not have enough control over our own policies and finances to fix the problems, and until we do taking the radical action needed will be very difficult.”