Ruffley Warns Of New Government Laws That Threaten To Silence Suffolk

Monday, 25 November, 2002

Bury St Edmunds Conservative MP warns of effect of new Government legislation

David Ruffley MP warned today that three new laws proposed by the Government would strip the voice of local people on planning, transport and housing; other proposals include revaluing council tax bands that properties fall into and increasing council taxes for higher valued properties. David Ruffley said:

"Planning Bill: The Labour Government hasn't listened to the overwhelming public concern about its proposed changes to the planning process. It wants to strengthen the role of regional politicians and unelected officials, and reduce the role of local councils, weakening the ability of local people to have their say on local developments across Suffolk.

"Regional Assemblies Bill: A new bureaucratic, pen-pushing tier of regional politicians based in Cambridge, paid for by a regional council tax, will also reduce the say of St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Mid Suffolk District Council on housing, transport and waste disposal. Motorways, by-passes, airports / runways, incinerators and sprawling housing estates could be imposed by Whitehall on environmentally sensitive areas and green fields across Suffolk, irrespective of local wishes. Liberal Democrats have failed to stand up to the Government, and also want to weaken the say of local people.

"Local Government Bill: On top of this, the Government is giving itself new powers to revalue council tax bands and introduce new bands. In the past five years, Council taxes have been an increasing burden on my constituents, rising by a whopping 3 times the rate of inflation. The average Band D house now bears a council tax of over £975.00. People who live in homes, whether renting or owning, whose value have risen because of higher property prices, face being hammered with yet higher council tax bills - the blame for which can only be put on the Government."