Feb 01 2010

Botched care plans could add £26 to council tax bills across Harrow

money2Gordon Brown to make local taxpayers pay the price for personal care changes

Bob Blackman, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Harrow East, warned of a Government plan to leave Harrow Council with a massive bill to pay for new social care plans. Analysis has revealed that Gordon Brown’s unfunded plans for free personal care at home could put £26 a year on the average council tax bill, on top of other local pressures. This is due to an estimated £580 million black hole left by the government.


  • Senior councillors in Harrow have warned that Gordon Brown’s plans “are unclear, unfunded and are likely to have a significant impact on existing local services, including possible cuts and rises in council tax”.
  • Town hall experts at the Local Government Association have added that “this is clearly a new burden” on councils, while Social Services directors from across the country have asserted that Gordon Brown has “significantly underestimated the true costs involved.”
  • On top of the council tax hike, there is also the threat of an additional £20,000 “death tax” by Gordon Brown to pay for new National Care Service proposals.

Bob Blackman said:

“Everybody wants to give older people more support in their old age, especially the most vulnerable. That is why Conservatives will introduce a voluntary Home Protection Scheme to allow people – for a one off £8,000 payment – to make sure they never have to sell their home to pay for residential care.

“But Labour’s plans to extend free personal care and to introduce a National Care Service are in chaos. Labour ministers in Whitehall are considering levying a compulsory death tax of up to £20,000 on every person in England, and now it looks like they’ll put another £26 a year on (area’s) council tax.  Gordon Brown needs to come clean about who will pay the price for his plans.”

Feb 01 2010

Become your own boss, Bob Blackman offers Harrow’s public sector workers

Light BulbNew plans for employee-owned co-operatives to help improve local services

Public sector workers across Harrow could become their own boss and deliver better services under new Conservative plans, backed by Bob Blackman, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Harrow East. Under bold proposals, public sector workers would have a powerful new right to form employee-owned co-operatives to take over the services they deliver. This will empower thousands of public sector workers across Harrow.

The new right to form employee-owned co-operatives will apply throughout the vast majority of the public sector – including JobCentre Plus offices, community nursing teams and primary schools. Employee-owned co-operatives will continue to be funded by the state so long as they meet national standards, but will be freed from centralised bureaucracy and political micromanagement. They will be voluntary sector, not-for-profit organisations; any financial surpluses would be reinvested into the service and the staff who work there, rather than distributed to external shareholders.

Bob Blackman said:

“Public sector workers should have the chance to become their own boss. Employee-owned co-operatives can help cut waste and deliver better services for everyone across Harrow. This could be the biggest shift of power from government to people since the right to buy your council house in the 1980s.

“This shows how Conservatives will give power to the public sector workers who are fed up with Gordon Brown’s top-down control of their working lives.”

Jan 01 2010

Don’t stop the music – village halls, churches and charities face new tax

tax-imageGovernment to hit local voluntary groups across Harrow with new music charges. Churches, village halls, charity shops and sports clubs across Harrow face a new £20 million tax from Gordon Brown’s Government, Bob Blackman, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Harrow East warned.

In the small print of obscure new regulations, the Government is abolishing charities’ and voluntary groups’ long-standing exemption from music licensing rules – hitting them with unexpected new bills just for holding events with recorded music or for playing a radio.

To date, voluntary groups have not had to pay for a so-called “PPL” performance rights licence in order to play recorded music. This exemption reflects the public benefit that such organisations provide, but this is now being abolished by the Government.

This will affect church worship, charity discos, tea dances, youth clubs, dancing groups, sports clubs and even charity shops which have a radio in their staff room. The changes are being imposed by Peter Mandelson’s Whitehall empire. The new levy will come into effect in April 2010 once the new regulations are ratified by Parliament. Conservatives are opposing these changes and standing up for local voluntary groups.

The Government admits that the new levies will cost voluntary groups £20 million a year. Some organisations will “cease playing music” because they cannot afford a licence, and it will hit a quarter of a million organisations – 140,000 charities, 6,750 charity shops, 66,440 sports clubs, 4,000 community buildings, 5,000 rural halls and 45,000 religious buildings.

These new levies are on top of bureaucratic rules imposed by the Licensing Act 2003, which requires expensive ‘premises licences’ for village halls to hold regular small-scale social functions, and which has imposed new red tape to play unamplified live music.

Bob Blackman said:

“This is another Labour assault on the fabric of British community life. Having effectively shut down post offices and local pubs across Harrow, Labour’s Whitehall bureaucrats now have our village halls, scout huts, charity shops and churches in their sights. This is a heartless tax on community buildings and charities. The Government should think again and don’t stop the music.”