If you want to arrange a drinking session in a place that produces beer, then don’t for God’s sake ask a Tameside councillor for advice!
In the middle of March, Tameside council issued a Press Release in which Cllr Jim Fitzpatrick, Tameside Council’s first deputy, said: “At Tameside Council we are acutely aware of the pressures under which retailers have had to operate over the last six years. We are committed to reviving our town centres and have been working closely with town teams.”
So, what do they do? They craftily increase the Car Parking charges by 80% – from £1.00 to £1.80 for an hour - 5 to 10 minutes of which is spent queuing at the pay-station whilst people rummage around trying to find the right money, as NO CHANGE IS GIVEN; another way of screwing shoppers and visitors!
Next, in a bid to encourage residents to support their local traders, we have the announcement of a Loyalty scheme which the media reported as being ‘the brainchild' of Stalybridge councillor Claire Reynolds, - a strange claim considering the plethora of loyalty schemes featuring points or stamp collection requirements that have been around since the early 60’s!
Her suggestion being that these ‘points or stamps’ could then be cashed in for ‘rewards’ such as tickets to events or a free swim!
However, typical of Tameside council, they announce a scheme that on the face of it would appear to have merit, but as usual, the finances have not been thought through! No mention of how this scheme is to be paid for!
In the 60’s, Green Shield issued 1 stamp for every 6d spent with participating retailers. The equivalent today would be 1 stamp or loyalty point for every 50p spent.
In the 60’s, each book contained 1,280 stamps and to collect enough stamps to fill it, one would have to have spent £32.00.
To fill the equivalent of 1 book today you would have to spend £640.00.!
So, to get an adult ‘free swim’ in Tameside, normal cost: £5.10p you would need to spend £81.00. – That’s after you've just paid another 80p for the privilege of parking your car!
Now if our creatively challenged councillors think that is an incentive to visit Ashton, Hyde, Droylsden or Stalybridge, then they probably still believe in the tooth fairy and that the moon is made of cream cheese!