Sunday, November 11, 2007

Labour thinks Basildon is on welfare

Basildon survives on government handouts, according to the local Labour party that is. We were debating Basildon's Regeneration Framework at the Council's Cabinet when the Leader of the Labour Group came out with the claim that Basildon District gets more government money in the form of subsidies and investment than it returns to the government in the form of tax. Now, the Regeneration Framework is our way of presenting our multiplicity of regeneration projects as a coherent whole, and many of those projects have had government funding in one form of another, but to move from that to the idea that Basildon District is basically on benefits is a bit of a leap. Basildon is in southern England within striking distance of the London economic powerhouse, our largest industrial and business area employs 40000 people and the District has areas that are very affluent indeed. Is it even remotely likely that its contribution to the exchequer is net negative? If Basildon as a successful District in southern county is on welfare then which part of the country is providing the subsidy? All in all this harks back to the old Labour tactic of running Basildon down in an effort to obtain more cash from the government. Our approach is to demonstrate our success in order to show that Basildon District is the right place to invest. That at least has the virtue that it works.

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