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Bonkers Blog February 2013

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21 February (Part 1) - Taxes up but no discussion

My need to spend yesterday in Newham caused the Public Realm meeting report to be shorter than it might have been. Another thing that helped is that not a single councillor wanted to comment on Agenda items 10 or 12. Ten was about yet another new stealth tax.

It is easily possible to argue that the primary cause of inflation is government. Whether it be the cost of motor fuel, the ever increasing price of domestic fuels, rail fares or postage stamps, the primary motivator for price hikes is government. Boris Johnson is in on the act. The GLA imposed an Infrastructure Levy on all London boroughs to supposedly pay for Crossrail. Now Bexley is to do the same. You’ll pay it if you buy a new house or extend or build business premises. From April next year, according to the meeting Agenda, it is proposed to charge up to £60 a square metre (†) for new housing and £100 for retail premises.

The council doesn’t say what this ’Infrastructure Levy’ is to be spent on but they do claim to have consulted on the issue. It ends next week.

No comment from any Bexley councillor is perhaps interesting. If what Nick Dowling picked up while reporting on the scrutiny of Scrutiny Committees is the normal process, this one will have been carefully rigged in advance by council leader O’Neill. Public Realm issues are more comprehensively stitched up than most, the responsible Cabinet member being scrutinised by his wife. Where other than Bexley would such skullduggery be tolerated? When asked to justify the possibility that Bexley’s Public Realm could be jeopardised by a marital tiff the council could only reply that the situation is not actually illegal.
Tuckley's comment
Whilst on the marital theme; I was slightly amused by references to Mrs. Ellershaw at the Public Realm discussions being “Miss Ainge”.

† £40 north of the Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst railway line, £60 south of it.


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