Tomorrow night Hartlepool Councillors will be asked to approve yet another rise in council tax. This will be used to protect front line services in these turbulent economic times. Well that's the official line!
I for one will be voting NO to the increase. At the same meeting we will be looking at the LAA Refresh! A wonderful document that sets out ambitious plans for Hartlepool Council to maintain the overall employment rate in Hartlepool at 5.6 percentage points below the North East Base line average!
Yes, you read that right MAINTAIN the overall employment rate in the town at BELOW the north east regional average. Now there's an ambitious target for the town!
The Council are also going to try and MAINTAIN the Hartlepool baseline figure of 20.9% for working age people out of work and claiming benefits, again that is 4.5% points worse than the rest of the North East Region.
The document also admits that the current level of 29% of children in Hartlepool living in poverty is unlikely to fall and so the Council's target has been revised to "Maintain the gap between Hartlepool and the North East Region at 4.8% points".
Basically Hartlepool Council will be concentrating their efforts for the next few years to maintain Hartlepool's position as having fewer people in work and more children in poverty than the rest of the North East!
How can anyone say Hartlepool Council lacks ambition!