Delivering Better Services and Keeping Council Tax Low

Bexley Council has approved a budget from the Conservative administration that guarantees first class services for Bexley residents and keeps the council tax increase below inflation at 3%.

As Labour Councillors voted against the budget without coming up with any alternative proposals it fell to Bexley Conservatives to reveal Labour’s real alternative budget based on their spending commitments and opposition to the introduction of weekly recycling collections which would have meant an 11% increase in Council tax.

Rejecting the suggestion from Labour leader Cllr Chris Ball that prioritising keeping Council Tax low was “immoral” Bexley Council leader Ian Clement said,

“What was immoral was increasing Council tax by 40% in four years of Labour Control and planning to put it up by 11% this year”.

Conservative Councillors reacted with disbelief to Labour calls for a bigger council tax rise to pay for grants to community forums with no questions asked about how taxpayers money was being spent.

Cllr Clement added,

“Labour have lost touch with people in Bexley more than even I had imagined if they think people care more about forums than how much their council tax bill is going to be”

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Conservatives lead March to save Queen Mary’s

Over 1500 people joined a March organised by Bexley Conservatives to protest against NHS plans to close the A&E and Maternity units at Queen Mary;s Hospital in Sidcup. The March culminated outside Queen Mary’s where the David Evennett MP handed over to NHS representatives a petition signed by over 5,000 local people. In a rousing speech at the demonstration Cllr Ian Clement vowed Bexley Conservatives would continue the fight to save our services at Queen Mary’s.

The mass demonstration the like of which not seen in Bexley for many years was also attended by Boris Johnson Conservative candidate for Mayor of London and Bexley & Bromley GLA candidate James Cleverly along with local MP’s David Evennett and Bob Neill.

Speaking afterwards Cllr Sharon Massey who had co-ordinated the days events said,

“The incredible support Bexley residents have given our campaign to save Queen Mary’s shows the enormous local opposition there is to plans to downgrade our hospital. The NHS and the Government should listen to what people are saying and abandon their plans to axe our A&E and Maternity departments”

Hollytree Parade Post Office Earmarked for Closure

Cllrs Cheryl Bacon, Ross Downing and Don Massey were shocked to hear that Hollytree Parade Post Office in Foots Cray was listed in the Post Office’s latest round of closures published this week. Though the process will be subject to public consultation, the Post Office has already closed thousands of branches across the country and are expected to close as many again in the coming year.

Cllrs Bacon, Downing and Massey said:

“Residents in Cray Meadows feel they are being stripped of essential services, with the imminent closure of Longmead Drive Surgery, the threat to vital Accident and Emergency and Maternity services at Queen Mary’s Hospital and now the proposed closure of their local Post Office.”

Cray Meadows councillors will be fighting to save this much needed local service and have urged local residents to respond to the consultation. Comments can be sent by letter to Anita Turner, Network Develoment Manager, C/o National Consultation Team, Post Office Ltd, FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM or by e-mail to consultation@postoffice.co.uk or by logging onto http://www.postoffice.co.uk/networkchange.

Councillors Challenge Care Trust over Surgery Closure

Cllrs Cheryl Bacon, Ross Downing and Don Massey have challenged Bexley Care Trust over the proposed closure of Longmead Drive Surgery. Bexley Care Trust was summoned to the meeting of Bexley Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee last week to answer questions about the closure of the surgery at the end of March and provision of GP services for the practice’s 2400 patients.

Cllr Downing questioned Mr Weaver (representing Bexley Care Trust) about plans for existing patients and asked for a detailed breakdown of where they were to be accommodated. Many patients have grave concerns about being able to access a GP within a reasonable distance from their home. Cray Meadows will be the only ward in Bexley without a GP practice.

Cllr Bacon challenged Mr Weaver about the Care Trust’s failure to consult with local residents, local councillors and Bexley Council. Mr Weaver admitted that the Care Trust had failed to carry out the required consultation about the closure. He also agreed that the current surgery catered for some of Bexley’s most vulnerable residents.

Under pressure from Councillors, Bexley Care Trust has agreed to work with council officers to try to identify possible sites for an alternative practice in the Ward.

Cllrs Bacon, Downing and Massey said:

“Understandably, local residents are very concerned to preserve a GP presence in the area and we will work with local residents, Royal Park Residents Association, Bexley Council officers and the Care Trust to see if an alternative practice site can be found within Cray Meadows.”