East Devon Alliance Councillor Gardner clarifies Sidmouth Herald EDDC debt story

Owl reported this story from the Sidmouth Herald in full yesterday:


East Devon Alliance councillor Cathy Gardner has contacted EDW to clarify the story:

“To my knowledge (as a District Cllr), EDDC has over £80m in debt because it had to borrow money to hold on to its council housing when the conservative government were making councils sell it off. So this is debt for a good & bad reason!

I’m surprised that the ‘politically neutral’ press officers have not added this to their comment to the Herald. I’ve objected to the council proposing to borrow money to invest in commercial property (to generate income), something else forced on them by the conservative government cuts to council grants (now zero).

The relocation from the Knowle is another matter. If re-elected I will continue to push for transparency on costs and to see if any of the Conservative group can ever prove break even.”

Politics: when your (very recent) past comes back to bite you

And why Independents make sense – no party line, no whipping.

“Activists for political parties are hardy souls.

They’re used to braving the elements, leafleting and door knocking in the depths of midwinter and encountering the uninterested, the unruly and even the odd bloodthirsty dog.

But from conversations I’ve been having with councillors and council candidates from both main parties over the past few days, all campaigning for next month’s local elections, the reaction they’ve received this time round has been of a quite different order.

The Tories, most of all, are in abject despair with many believing they are heading for the drubbing of their lives.

One, a local chairman from Essex, told me that his prime minister’s actions represent “an absolute betrayal of the British people”.

He told me: “Next month’s elections are going to be absolutely pivotal – we are going to get absolutely hammered.

“We are struggling to get anyone to deliver leaflets, even members of our executive don’t want to go out.”

This theme of Conservatives being unable to turn out their own members was commonplace across the country.

One exasperated Tory councillor told me: “Every association I’ve spoken to are struggling to get their members out.

“Members are saying, why should I get s*** on the doorstep and doors slammed in my face when I’m as angry as they are?”

Most are unequivocal: they blame Theresa May and want her to go. “It isn’t just six weeks of incompetence, it’s two and a half years.”

But this isn’t just a rejection of the Tory party and Theresa May, the backlash extends to Labour too.

I’ve spoken to a score of Labour councillors from up and down the country who are deeply concerned about the reaction they’re getting. …”


Not registered to vote in local election on 2 May? Do it NOW – never was your vote needed more

If you don’t want “more of the same” fusty, mostly male, mostly old Tory councillors and you haven’t registered to vote, please do – it takes less than 5 minutes. And you could change East Devon by voting for Independents!

The deadline is looming for people to register to vote in upcoming town, parish and district council elections.

Residents who are not already registered at their current address have until midnight on Friday, April 12, to be able to vote in the elections taking place in May.

On Thursday, May 2, registered voters will go to the polls to have their say on who will represent them on their town, parish and district councils.

Mark Williams, electoral registration officer for East Devon said: “These elections are an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect your day-to-day life.

“If you recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important that you act to ensure that you are registered to vote.

“It takes just five minutes online and means that you can take part in this important election.”

The deadline for applications to vote by post is also approaching at 5pm on Monday, April 15. To request a postal vote ring 01395 571529.