WITHOUT doubt Hartlepool Borough Council's financial chickens have come home to roost.
For many years a small number of independent councillors have been objecting to the high spending of this authority and have been mercilessly criticised for it by the Labour Group.
Council taxpayers now pay the third highest council tax in England.
Stuart Drummond has said on a number of occasions he is proud that Hartlepool is a high spending local authority.
'Big' Eric Pickles (minister for Local Government) has also recognised Hartlepool's high spending record.
That is why Hartlepool is one of the 37 local authorities specifically identified to reduce its spending by a high percentage (8.9 per cent).
I fully accept one of the reasons for this high spending is due to high levels of deprivation within Hartlepool.
However, it's a sad fact that in spite of 10s of millions of pounds spent in deprived wards those levels of deprivation are just as high now as they have always been when compared with the national average.
Councillor Simmons and the comrades should perhaps remember the reason why we are in this mess in the first place.
It's not altogether the fault of the bankers.
The UK is 4.8 trillion in debt. It happened on a Labour Government watch.
As always (no matter which government is in power) the poorest in society will pay disproportionately more to resolve this debt than the rich.
Hartlepool has been asked to reduce its spending by 8.9 per cent and that will mean difficult decisions.
Most local authorities are not being hit as hard as Hartlepool.
The big question for Hartlepool voters to ask is why?
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