CONSULTATION: Few had a say on budget proposals

Further to my previous letter, (News Guardian, January 28), it would seem that I was mistaken when I commented that no consultation event had taken place in the coastal area regarding the Mayor’s budget plan.

At the council meeting on February 4, it was stated that many residents had endorsed the proposals, including the four per cent rise in council tax.

However, the responsible cabinet member had to confess that only two events were held, at Wallsend Customer Service Centre on January 20, and Whitley Bay on December 16.

It was further explained that the event in Whitley Bay had only been offered to an Age UK group, and only one person attended.

She tried to explain that organising face-to-face events with residents was too expensive, which is not a problem for the Mayor’s so-called ‘listening events’, and that many residents had given their views via Twitter and Facebook. However, she had to admit that only 29 residents had responded in this way. The population of North Tyneside is 200,000 plus.

I find it unbelievable that coastal residents, who have always made the highest contribution to council tax revenue, should be treated so shabbily by this administration, and that the views of only 29 people are deemed sufficient to enable the budget plans to be imposed on an ever more disillusioned coastal population.

Frank Austin

Whitley Bay