Rumpus over ‘war on poor’ tirade in council newsletter

Rumpus over ‘war on poor’ tirade in council newsletter

COUNCIL chiefs were forced to take down politically-charged comments from the online version of their ‘impartial’ newsletter.

Articles about last week’s Queen’s Speech appeared on the Kirklees Together website on Monday.

Kirklees Council leader Coun David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) responded to parts of the new Tory Government’s legislative agenda.

More controversially, cabinet member for resources Coun Graham Turner attacked a proposed housing bill.

He wrote: “I am very disappointed, but not surprised, that the new Government has continued its war on the working poor and the most vulnerable in our society by extending the right to buy scheme. At a time when social housing is in very short supply, a fact I may add that everyone recognises, they are going to force us to sell off homes at a huge discount, which we can’t replace.

“This will have an impact on our housing budget, and more importantly push more people into the private rented sector, which is generally more expensive and less well regulated.

“Instead of a right to buy they should be helping us build decent homes that we can add to our housing stock and charge a fair rent for.”

Kirklees Together is a newsletter about council services for residents and is funded by taxpayers.

Mark Eastwood, deputy chairman of Dewsbury and Mirfield Tories, complained to council chief executive Adrian Lythgo.

He believes councillors should raise such concerns – but not in a publicly-funded ‘neutral’ magazine.

Mr Lythgo agreed and in an email seen by The Press, he told Mr Eastwood the articles had been taken down from the Kirklees Together website. He wrote: “...it will be considered against the standards in the Local Authority Code of Conduct on publicity.”

Mr Lythgo also addressed a previous complaint about Labour election leaflets being bundled with the print version of Kirklees Together.

He told Mr Eastwood: “You are right that no party political leaflets should ever be circulated with KT and that was made very clear to the (delivery) company concerned at the time.”

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