Tory Councillors Branded ‘Hypocrites’

‘Town Council leader hits back at ‘Tory hypocrites”

Two Bridgwater Conservatives have been branded ‘hypocrites’ by Labour councillors on Bridgwater Town Council. The Labour council recently passed a budget to save jobs and services. This amounted to some £3.79 a week for the 51% of people in Bridgwater on band A £4.42 for the 27% of people on band B  and £5.68 a week for the 4% of people on band D. The budget included the introduction of a new allowance for town councillors of £1,200 (but this had been a recommendation from an independent remuneration panel to acknowledge the councils almost quadrupling of responsibilities as they took on new crucial services such as parks and gardens and street cleaning from the collapsing county council). Town Council Leader Brian Smedley said “The Tory leaders – Rodrigues and Slocombe – are actually being incredibly hypocritical. They’ve launched a petition against these small allowances whilst not mentioning at the same time that they are drawing more than £40,000 a year as county councillors between them. Are they saying Bridgwater councillors shouldn’t be paid even a small amount for running local services while they can draw vast allowances for being part of another council? We believe in a fair days pay for workers who deliver public services and that includes councillors -don’t they? They are just trying to scare people and are not being honest with them. We know they’re Tories, but they needn’t be so clichéd!”

Tories ‘beyond belief’ in their tactics to scare people

Cllr Diogo Rodrigues (Con) has just been re-elected to the Town council in the Fairfax East by- election and has immediately started up a ‘petition’ against the town allowances “But not his own allowances I note” added Cllr Smedley. “This is a man who is a massive self-publicist with seemingly no sense of loyalty. Not to his former colleagues in Labour, who he left when the Boris Johnson Tories won the 2019 election, presumably seeing which side his bread was buttered on, and now it seems no loyalty to his new fellow councillors who his actions seem designed to denigrate by this misleading campaign.”

Tories out to ‘con’ you – no change there

Rodrigues was elected as a Labour town councillor in 2016 and as a Labour District councillor in 2019 even spending a time as Labour Mayor thanks to the support of his Labour colleagues. A month after his election in 2019 he became an Independent and intended to stand as such against the Tories in the general election but pulled out. Then in 2020 he instead joined the Tories. He is now chairman of the Bridgwater Conservative Association.

How your money is spent per £. Note ‘Allowances’ show as 0%, they are in fact 0.005%.

Cllr Smedley added “This is a man drawing nearly £20,000  a year as a conservative councillor yet he’s trying to run a campaign to stop Bridgwater town councillors getting just 6% of that. It shows what he thinks of Bridgwater. This is a man who is a businessman owning 2 restaurants – as it happens in Taunton not Bridgwater, and who is also paid by the Chamber of Commerce as an extra job, trying to make sure that wealthy people who have already got the money and can sit on councils in their spare time look like noble heroes who do the job for sheer community spirit while ordinary working people, who tend to be labour councillors, have to make a choice between missing work or not even standing for councils. When I was first elected to Council we got £13 a meeting yet I’d have to lose £40 by taking time off from my driving job. The Government later introduced allowances for councillors so that people weren’t out of pocket when they took on these roles. Councillors get paid. Not a lot of people probably realise that. I’m also a County Councillor like Rodrigues and Slocombe. County councillors get £298 a week.  We’re proposing  that Town councillors get just £23 a week. He simply isn’t telling the people this who are signing up to his petition – often, to be honest, getting confused with the County cutbacks while the Town is actually saving services!”

Tory claims cause hairline fracture as labour leader pulls wig off in despair

Jaw-dropping hypocrisy

Long serving Town and County Tory councillor Gill Slocombe has been drawn into Rodrigues’ campaign and has used her new Mercury column this week to attack the Town Council saying the Town’s  tax settlement will “disproportionately affect lower income households” . Cllr Smedley says “This is jaw dropping Tory hypocrisy. It won’t at all. The tax system is graded so that people who can pay more DO pay more and people who can’t obviously pay less. Some won’t pay at all. This is the Conservatives blaming a Labour council who are trying to protect services that their government has destroyed during their years of austerity, for the cost-of-living crisis which they have actually created. It’s clearly a disgraceful tactic and so transparent it’s preposterous. People see straight through it. I am absolutely shocked that Cllr Slocombe has also gone down this route because as leader of the opposition she had been falling over herself to second our motions, but suddenly Diogo is back on council and out come the blue battle flags. Cllr Slocombe again is criticising hard working town councillors for being awarded £23 a week while she herself is on £447 a week at county. Rank hypocrisy.”

“To be honest, when has anybody thought the Tories weren’t just out for themselves’

Never Trust a Tory

This week Tory Parliamentary candidate Sir Ashley Fox has joined the campaign too attacking the Town Councillors £23 a week. Cllr Smedley says “These people are beyond belief. Mr Fox is trying to get elected to a job that will bring him £1,665 a week. Is he worth 72 times a Bridgwater councillor? The Tories are a disgrace and they’ll be consigned to the dustheap of history at this election.

Bring it on.”

Bridgwater is Saving Jobs and Protecting services

Leaders eyes glaze over as the latest Tory nonsense appears on his screen

Cllr Smedley concluded “Bridgwater Town Council has released a chart showing how the money they have raised from the precept will be spent and it’s clear that the councillor income doesn’t even register on the graph as for every pound you pay in your council tax for the town it amounts to 0.005%. People are being confused by the serious state of the county finances. Town councils are financially stable and rescuing services, it’s the County council that is crumbling and cutting services and sacking loyal workers. And let’s be clear why that is. The Tory governments since 2010 have been  cutting back support for local councils whilst giving them more things they have to find funds for. Clearly impossible. At the same time the previous Tory County Council failed to raise adequate precepts to build up a reserve or a buoyancy fund to pay for their governments dreadful financial policies and so now they’re out of office in Somerset the poor old LibDems are in a no- win situation. (but i think that might be in their memorandum of association)”

Smedley rams a meat skewer through his head rather than read anymore Tory ‘hypocritical moralising’

“Why has this happened? Not by accident, it’s by design. Tory design. Austerity and the destruction of local government will leave delivery of key public services in the profiteering hands of the private sector – with the same disastrous result we’ve seen in the NHS and the housing market. And the worse thing in all this is when – and it is when – the County goes bust, they’ll have to bring in Government Commissioners, and the going rate for those commissioners  won’t be the £1,200 a year that town councillors get it’ll be £1,200 A DAY. Total disgrace and no wonder these local tories are trying to save their own skin by trying to point the blame somewhere else!”

Cllr Smedley said he would withdraw any co-operation with the Town Tories until they stopped their ‘disgraceful hypocritical campaign’. “The collaborative leaders liaison meetings will stop and we’ll put people we trust to be decent on the committees and outside bodies as we work to save local government and deliver jobs and services in Bridgwater.”

You can read about the Labour budget here.

and here.

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