Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Tories shop local - but not for their leaflets!

By Clive Hart


Thanet Conservatives boast on their election leaflets that they have 'helped traders by encouraging residents to shop locally'.  So why are their election leaflets printed in Canterbury?
At a recent local business meeting in Cliftonville a discussion took place regarding their Thanet Tory 'Shop Local' scheme.  It appears the Conservative administration at TDC now want businesses to pay £35 to be members of the scheme, instead of the original £25 first year cost.  But here's the real rub - they also want the businesses to 'run the scheme themselves'.  Yes, a  £10 increase and 'do it yourself from now on'.  Sounds like more of that Big Society nonsense!
The meeting was also informed that at least 35 businesses in Northdown Road alone, would have to join the scheme for it to be viable.  The vast majority of businesspeople attending the meeting just laughed out loud when that '35 business' requirement was read out.  'What planet are they on' was one comment shouted from the floor.
Hardly anyone at the meeting could name a business involved in the scheme.  The few businesses that were, at some point involved, had apparently failed to give either the discount or incentive required through the scheme to make it work.  No-one at the meeting could think of any benefits that have come to businesses from the scheme to date and the general consensus was that it was a complete and total farce.
A representative from Margate then explained that Margate shops would 'probably not be involved in the scheme from now on'.  Margate had a requirement to find 45 interested businesses.  The representative also explained that problems had developed with the Shop Local scheme following staff changes at TDC that had moved people into different departments and even sometimes into different districts.
That brings us to yet another boast on the Conservative election leaflet, yes the Tories have 'implemented a shared service programme with neighbouring districts.

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