“Nanny State” is insulting to nannies

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Is Cllr Keith Baldry in the same league as Jacob Rees-Mogg? (courtesy: 10 Downing Street)

South Hams adviser claims nans are cuddly

The term ‘nanny status’ should not be used negatively as nannies are ‘kind and cuddly’, according to a South Hams adviser.

The topic arose as South Hams District Council (SHDC) held an executive meeting on Thursday October 13 to discuss a range of issues including the cost of living crisis and funding for community groups.

A report on the council’s cost of living response plan included details of the help available for struggling residents and information on a cash sum of £100 available for families with one child and £165 for those with more than one child. This is in addition to the £150 payment for residents in certain council tax brackets.

Woolwell’s conservative adviser and executive cost of living official, Nicky Hopwood, also gave personal advice on cutting energy bills.

After hearing details of council’s proposed actions to help residents who may be struggling with rising costs, Newton and Yealmpton Lib Dem councilor Keith Baldry took the opportunity to hit out at the Conservative Party and the new Premier Liz Truss.

Cllr Baldry said: ‘Chief, I am surprised we have this document in front of us as I thought it was the philosophy of the new Prime Minister not to offer useful advice to people on where they can save on their fuel bills.

Council leader and Conservative MP for Salcombe and Thurlestone Judy Pearce responded by saying local authority and central government were entirely separate.

“Councillor Baldry, what happens in Westminster and what we do here are two separate things,” she said. “So we’re happy to at least provide the information to our residents. We do not want to declare them as a nanny, but we make the information available to them.

Cllr Baldry responded quickly but instead of referring to the agenda item he questioned Cllr Pearce’s use of a commonly used phrase.

“Chief,” he said. “Personally, I think I don’t like this expression ‘nanny state’. I think nannies are pretty nice people overall. Kind and cuddly and helpful. Why we use “nannyhood” as a term of abuse is beyond me.

The comment was taken in good spirits and Cllr Pearce replied: “Cllr Baldry, this is the first time I have had to put you in the same box as the Right Honorable Jacob Rees-Mogg.”

The Conservative MP for North East Somerset, who is Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is often the butt of jokes for his aloof manner. As he stood for election in 1997, he went door-to-door through the lanes of Central Fife with the family’s nanny in the back of his Bentley.

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