2 February 2019

Councillor’s Corner 18/19 No 16 – People Power

Pitmen supporter and HTFCSA committee member Paul Woodhead is a Cannock Chase District Councillor for Hednesford. You will see him around the ground most match days, usually as Pitman Pete and in the Strikers Bar after the game where you can talk to him about any matters or issues of concern.

In these articles I want to bring the role of the councillor alive to you and ensure I am accountable to you as the elected representative for the ward in which the football club resides. I will highlight some of the things I get involved with and the decisions the council makes on your behalf. I will be available after most home games for a general conversation and we can arrange a private discussion should that be appropriate. Alternatively you can contact me by phone on 07930 120077 or by email paul.woodhead@greenparty.org.uk

In 2015 we highlighted the stated intention of the County Council to look at options for the Countryside Estate including the sale or privatisation of our land. After a lot of public pressure, the councillors were forced by emails, protests and a petition of 11,000 people to commit to not selling our land. It is ours to enjoy not theirs for profit.

Now four years on the same councillors have put the Countryside estate back on the table. Whilst they state in the committee papers that the countryside will not be sold it does talk about long-term leases and potentially commercial companies being involved. The council has struggled to pass this burden on to communities and is now seeking to abdicate their responsibilities to provide protection for our green spaces in the same way as they have done for our libraries. The policy of People Helping People is producing a reliance on volunteers to deliver common services without the infrastructure or money to support them.

Local Authorities have been starved of money by central government with the same time annual increases above the rate of inflation in Council Tax for residents. This has created a purposeful crisis in local services which has gone way beyond efficiency savings and joined-up working to strike at the fabric of our communities. It is not about children in care or adult social care this is a created narrative to pull on heartstrings, it is about an ideology and austerity. People pushing back stems the tide as we have seen with the U-turn on school crossing patrols which now means children can cross the road safely for the next three years… but what then.