Friday, September 12, 2008
£49,000 - the cost of local Tory incompetence
Regular blog readers will recall that I got into an exchange of words recently with Tory Councillors Mike and Gill Cartwright over the Arriva bus changes.
I suggested that pressure should be applied to Arriva to reverse the decision. They should meet the cost of restoring services and not Council Taxpayers. I was then excoriated by the Cartwrights, who demanded that their Harrowgate Hill residents couldn't wait, and the Council should "dig deep" into its pockets now. Gill Cartwright even accused me of naievety in believing that Arriva would make any changes without heftry Council subsidies.
Our online spat even made the Echo.
Of course, we now know that the pressure applied to Arriva, including by our local MP Alan Milburn, forced Arriva into a partial rethink. Service has been restored of the 6a and 6b on a Friday and Saturday night, and on a Sunday. There are also better links into the Harrowgate Farm development as well.
So had the Council followed the Tories' demands, it would have been local residents who would have paid for the changes, and not Arriva. I've now had this costed by the officers, who believe that had the Council tendered for the changes, it would have had to shell out about £49,000!
Increasingly, the Tories will say anything to grab a few headlines - Darlington residents should be aware that these glib demands and promises come with price tags attached.