Cllr Bob Brierley, an Independent councillor on Wigan Council has started gritting the roads himself as he was so fed up with the failure of the Labour Council to do an effective job. With his nephew he spent nine days on a trailer spreading Council owned grit around Hindley Green. He is planning to spend £1,000 buying his own gritter and another £1,500 for 28 tons of salt out of his £4,600 annual allowance.
He says the Wigan Evening Post:
"I'm arranging for our own supply of grit salt, so residents are not made to go though these conditions again, and I'm looking to buy a grittier and a trailer for future use which I will take out myself. When I was a child in Platt Bridge everyone looked after the elderly, and they in turn looked after the children, which gave everyone respect.
"As a councillor I took it upon myself to carry on this work. I called the council and they told me that they were stretched. So I got on with helping as much as I could.
"They would only allow me one and a half tonnes of grit salt. If we had more, more work would have been done.
"As a councillor, I receive a monthly income of £700, so I paid my nephew Paul a day's wage of £60 plus £10 fuel cost out of my own pocket."
The response of the Council has been confused. They have made excuses for doing a poor job by saying they are "overstretched." But the Labour Cabinet member for the environment Cllr Dave Molyneux said:
"This is just a publicity stunt and not necessary. Can you imagine the scene if all 75 councillors went out and brought their own gritters and started doing their own bit. It would all become a little silly."
I don't imagine the residents and traders in Cllr Brierley's ward regarded his initiative as "not necessary" – especially the elderly. Wigan is one of the worst examples of an arrogant, complacent, monolithic Labour Council which takes the voters for granted and clings rigidly to an ideology of state control.