Saturday, 13 April 2013

With friends like these... Tory chairman slams Cornwall Council parking policy

Tory Chairman Grant Shapps was in Cornwall this week to launch his party's local election campaign. Sadly for Mr Shapps, all did not go to plan as he lambasted councils which use town centre car parks as cash cows at the expense of local shops and businesses. Tory led Cornwall Council is, of course, one of the councils which does just that.

On the issue of parking, it has been the Liberal Democrats who have campaigned for more reasonable parking charges for the entire four years of this council. We have highlighted how high parking charges affect local shops and kill town centres. The Conservatives, who had the power to do something about this, sat back and raised prices year after year.

One of the key successes of the Liberal Democrat budget passed in February is that it has found £1.2 million each year for the next two years to underwrite cuts to parking charges. We are determined to encourage shoppers back to our town centres and lower parking charges is one way to do so. None of the Tory factions included parking charge cuts within their budget proposals and independents, MK and Labour all voted against cutting parking charges. Clearly the cuts passed in the budget are at risk of being dropped unless the Liberal Democrats win enough support on May 2nd to see them through.

It seems the Conservative strategy in this election is to try to pretend they don't run Cornwall Council. This despite the fact the Leader of the Council is a Conservative, the Conservative Group Leader served on the cabinet until recently and that the former leader of the council was paraded about at events with the Prime Minister in London.