Postbag: It doesn’t figure

UNDER the headline Your Services, Your Choice , the Conservative county council leader, Councillor Keith Walters, has launched their annual consultation document inviting us to choose the option of whether we wish to pay four, five or six per cent more f

UNDER the headline "Your Services, Your Choice", the Conservative county council leader, Councillor Keith Walters, has launched their annual consultation document inviting us to choose the option of whether we wish to pay four, five or six per cent more for greatly reduced services.

Should you feel so inclined, copies which residents are invited to complete are available from public libraries - those that the county council haven't already closed, that is.

We are presented with only these three 'options'. Keith then tells us that five per cent "is the right option". A real exercise in open and democratic consultation, then.

How do the Conservatives try to justify this situation? Well, Keith makes haste to tell us. Apparently, "Cambridgeshire's growth in population and demand for our services is just one of the pressures we face but it is a crucial one."

Ever helpful, Cllr Walters goes on to give us an example. We are informed that "the maintenance of the new roads and street lights in Cambourne will cost us an extra £70,000 a year". Yes, well that sounds very worrying, doesn't it? It does until you remember that Cambourne is a new development.

It actually involves the county council in very little extra expenditure. Schools are now directly funded by the Government. As a new community, Cambourne is unlikely to put any serious burden on social services. And the brand new roads and pavements won't be putting too much strain on Keith's budget.

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Yet each of the new houses in Cambourne will pay the county council a full Council Tax of several hundred pounds.

If the Conservative administration really believes this is a valid and intelligent example, perhaps they might consider a deal? If they would care to let the people of Cambourne off the more than £1,000,000 I estimate they pay to them in Council Tax, I'm sure that in return the residents would happily club together and pay the £70,000 bill for maintenance.

MARTIN LAND, Huntingdon Liberal Democrats

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