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Fight for the Wight: 'Carry the battle to Westminster'

Saturday, June 25, 2016 - 15:00

THE SKIES were pretty black over the Island on Wednesday evening, ahead of the storms which battered us overnight.
But were they any gloomier than the pall that hung over the Wight in the wake of the visit of Greg Clark, secretary of state for government and communities?
His much-anticipated visit, which was kept pretty quiet until the last minute, carried high hopes.
The prime minister and Mr Clark had previously said they recognised the Island’s unique case as it struggles for better funding from Whitehall. So the scene was set, we hoped, for him to see and hear about for himself the problems we have and hopefully do something meaningful about them.
However, his message on the day, seemed to be pretty much we were NOT unique, that councils around the country had similar problems, more cuts were to come, so we had just better get on with it and set a budget for next year.
While no word has come forth that we will not get any extra cash, the prevailing mood after the meetings (held over a few hours in County Hall) was one of despair — one person in the meetings said council officials looked "suicidal" afterwards.
I would hope Mr Clark may have been appearing to tow the party line on austerity, and will come up with the goods when the time comes, but I am now not holding my breath.
Mr Clark, a member of the Remain campaign in the EU Referendum, would no doubt have spoken about the tariffs he fears from Europe if we leave, as he fought the Euro fight over the past few months.
Well, Mr Minister, what about the "trade tariff" the IW faces every day — that of the cost of separation by sea, which Coopers and Lybrand estimated in a report from the 1990s as being six per cent of our costs.
That is a truly unique feature the IW has to face in the UK economy lottery.
So, we could sit back and take it … or we could carry the battle to Westminster, with Islanders giving a massive show of support for our Fight for the Wight campaign, and a huge effort from our MP, as we seek to show the government the IW IS different.
We are all in this together, as someone once said.

Fight for the Wight:

What’s it all about?
Basically, the IW is running out of money. In particular, the Isle of Wight Council is having its funding cut, and cut again, to the point where it says it is unlikely to be able to set a legal budget next year.
That campaign is simply about asking government to recognise the IW is unique, and give us a fair deal.

How can you help?
Become a champion for this non-political County Press campaign. Ask the CP for petition forms and get all your friends and relatives to sign the petition, which will be handed over to the government ahead of the crucial chancellor’s autumn statement.
Thousands have already signed the petition but we want this to have as much people power as possible.

Click below to find out more and join the fight
Fight for the Wight

 


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