On Wednesday evening I attended a meeting of Bury Council at which the new Council Tax for the year 2009/2010 was set. The new tax will be 4.99% higher than the current year after taking into account the increases for the police and fire brigade. An extra £600,000 will be included to help pay for adapting dwellings for disabled people. £30,000 has been allocated to improving the toilets at Bury market. Over 65’s will once again receive a discount of 4.79% which is the amount of the Bury Council increase. The budget for helping adults with learning and pysical disablements is being increased by over £2million pounds. No one will welcome the fact that the Council Tax has had to be increased but the fact that the Councils income from its investments and the size of the grant from central government has made this inevitable.
I was saddend today to learn of the death of David and Samantha Cameron’s young son Ivan. I know that because of his illnesses they realised he might not live to reach ‘old age’ but their loss and grief will not be diminished. I was in meetings this morning and was unable to watch the tributes that were made in the House of Commons in place of Prime Ministers Questions and I have since watched them on the internet. It struck me how that at times such as these the things that unite politicians of different parties, the common bond of humanity, are stronger than the matters which divide us and our nation is much the stronger for it.
I do not often comment on the opinion polls although unlike politicians who claim they never look at the polls I do consider the polls as they come in. I take the view that what matters is the general trend in the polls and you really need to look at several polls over a few weeks to get a flavour of how things stand. It is also always worth remembering that one poll can be wrong and indeed several polls may all be wrong it is for that reason that I never get too worried if the Conservatives are behind in the polls nor too excited if they are ahead.
People can understand how bad things are in the economy when we learn that the Halifax which at one time was a byword for safety and security has lost £10billion. Ten Billion Pounds. A staggering loss that just underlines the fact that during the past decade many individuals have borrowed too much, many Companies have borrowed too much and the Government has borrowed too much. We will all be paying these debts back for generations to come.
I was surprised to read in the weekend press that a Professor who shares three quarters of my name and who advises the Government on drug misuse has commented that when it comes to dangerous pursuits taking the drug Ecstasy is on a par with horseriding. When I speak to parents one of their biggest fears is that their children might become involved with drugs. I think that Government advisors should be stressing the dangers of drugs not trying to play them down.