An Unwanted Pickle


Colchester Lib Dem Councillor Nick Barlow writes here on Government Minister Eric Pickles – and he is pretty blunt. Here’s an extract:

…  Instead of assistance and help from the Secretary of State, there is instead a hectoring of local government and a stubborn refusal to engage with anything councils have actually done to address the financial crisis. This is exemplified in the list of fifty money-saving ideas the Department for Communities and Local Government have published.


This was accompanied by Pickles stating that councils must ‘do every single one’ of these ideas. Yet again, Pickles proves that ‘localism’ is just a sham – even more so than under Labour, his DCLG expects councils to dance to Whitehall’s tune in exchange for funding.


The general consensus from people I know in local government to the list has been ‘but we’re doing all that already!’..

Mr Pickles may end up being the worst minister for local government ever.

This post has already been read 95 times since Aug 2nd 2015


  1. John Mason

    On the face of things you could be excused in immediately regarding this article the usual expression of political opposition to Government Policy and a Senior Minister.

    But it seems to be the frustration of a local councillor saying that there is no further capacity for cuts and a Council Tax Freeze cannot be maintained.

    We have all seen the sack cloth and ashes paraded in the Autumn Financial Statement in December which put that austerity policies will have to continue with this (Coalition) Government much later and until 2018.

    Strangely what we seem to have is Secretary of State, Eric Pickles opposing many Conservative controlled Councils who seem according to the articles that I posted yesterday to be ready to reject the further Council Tax Freeze on offer from the Government.

    Whilst it might seem bizarre what we seem to have is Eric Pickles championing the lot of ordinary people who are, in my opinion, bearing the brunt of austerity measures.

    Look at the article below.

    Is this the right time for Councils to take off the Freeze in Council Tax?

    Are there no more cuts or improved income streams to be had to avoid taking off the Freeze?

    What do you think?



    Thursday, 20 December 2012

    Families worse off

    Asda’s Income Tracker has found that families were nearly £50 worse off last month than they were two years ago. Families had £146 a week of discretionary income last month, meaning they were £1 a week better off than a year ago but compared with November 2010, they are £12 a week worse off.

    Source: Financial Times, Page: 3 The Times, Page: 43 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2, 4 The Guardian, Page: 31 The Scotsman, Page: 8

  2. christine paine

    With the Daily Mail reporting that Essex County Council staff have spent £5M on council supplied credit cards in the last two years, including £1400 overnight stay at the Dorchester, trips to Golf and Country Clubs, Lingerie etc. etc. I think they not only need to continue the freeze, they need to take a long hard look at their priorities. Every single member of staff there needs to remember that we pay their wages, it doesn’t come via the money fairy.

    The simple truth is many people just plain cannot afford a rise in Council Tax. If you have a pension plus a small occupational pension you get no benefits. Working couples get no benefits, yet every day there is more and more of a squeeze on the household budget. Most people get no help with their Council Tax, they have to find it somehow. It is one of the largest expenditures for many households. New energy bills are yet to really hit home, plus after the poor summer harvest and winter floods food prices are going to rocket soon. Do Councils want to drive people into choosing whether to eat or pay council tax when they already often have to choose whether to heat or eat.

  3. Rayleigh Resident

    Replace the word benefits with the phrase “subsidised by tax payers that go to work” and you might see things a bit differently.

  4. John Mason

    Sunday 23 December

    Rural communities to feel the strain

    Rural communities will bear the brunt of government cuts that will force local councils to slash their services. The warning follows the publication of the government’s finance settlement, which details the amount of central funding given to local authorities. Rural councils will face a bigger reduction in central grant and spending power than urban councils, according to an initial analysis by the Rural Services Network.

    Source: Manchester Evening News, Page: 4

    Elderly walking a financial tightrope

    A study by Age UK has warned that more than 1.2m elderly people could be made bankrupt if they received an unexpected fuel or energy bill of more £200. Michelle Mitchell, the charity’s director general, said: “Many older people are living hand-to-mouth and dreading the day when the cooker breaks down or energy prices rise again.”

    Source: Sunday Express, Page:


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