FROM: Avid Reader (name and address supplied).
The letter from ‘Stop the Bickering’ 23rd August missed the importance of the ongoing local anger at the imposition of new car parking charges in Lurgan and across Upper Bann.
These charges, imposed and overseen by DRD Minister Danny Kennedy and his Ministerial Assistant Jo-Anne Dobson, have come at a time when town centre businesses are already struggling. People have suffered job losses and pay freezes. Motorists are facing runaway petrol prices as well as very high insurance premiums. Local families have seen hikes on the cost of food. T
he value of savings set aside has reduced significantly as interest rates have failed to keep pace with inflation.
These Kennedy/Dobson parking charges have also been introduced in contradiction of the warning issued by the independent review into the future of high streets carried out by Mary Portas who warned that to “remove controlled free parking from our town centres puts them at a massive competitive disadvantage.” She further added that to “increase the cost of parking in a locality.. is to curtail the appeal of that location.”
These Dobson/Kennedy charges announced for towns like Lurgan, Portadown, and Banbridge etc are actually cast in a mould to do the very thing the Portas Review warned against.
The disadvantage described by the independent review is being felt already in places like Lurgan. Her description of the curtailment of Lurgan’s appeal as a centre of retail trade is now a significant threat as a result of the Dobson/Kennedy car parking charges.”
On the wider front, these Dobson/Kennedy charges are the direct result of the Tory led cuts that Jo-Anne Dobson actively campaigned in support of at the last General Election.
Those cuts that Jo-Anne Dobson asked people to vote for resulted in a 40% cut to Northern Ireland’s capital budget – money that would have been spent on roads etc.
Given that Jo-Anne Dobson campaigned in support of these cuts and is now the de facto Junior Minister in the Department that is imposing these hated charges it is entirely appropriate to ask her to explain herself to the same electorate who she asked to vote for the Cameron cuts plan.
After all - of her own free choice Jo-Anne Dobson actively campaigned in support of that cuts plan. She did so freely and voluntarily.
She did so even after David Cameron had placed Northern Ireland at the top of his cuts hit list. She did so right up to polling day itself when she stood at Waringstown polling station distributing mock ballot papers asking people to vote for those cuts.
It is only right – now that her Tory cuts chickens are coming home to roost - that Jo-Anne Dobson should be held accountable to the electorate for her actions.