Thursday, March 03, 2011

Chances for Change lost.

Last night the Labour/Tory Cabinet's budget was passed unchanged by Stockton Council.  We proposed two things:
First of all a transition fund to allow the youth clubs which are going to have funding withdrawn to stay open for a few months while they look for other sources of support or funding to carry on the work they're doing and perhaps be able to do it in a different way.  We proposed using some of the budget put aside for schools in difficulty - presumably the same schools that we were told 2 years ago were doing really well by the then cabinet member, now MP for Stockton North.  We lost the vote but won the argument - the Leader of the council did say that transition arrangements would be put in place without using that fund.
The second amendment seemed like a no-brainer.  We proposed that in light of the current economic climate we should ensure that next year there is a full review of allowances with an emphasis on seeing whether the amount spent on special responsibility posts could be reduced.  We accept fully that councillors need a decent basic allowance in order to ensure that as wide a cross section as possible of people can stand for election.  Some people lose benefits, some lose time from work that isn't paid, some lose the chance of promotion, some searching for work find that employers won't entertain the idea of employing a councillor.  But it seemed to us that there is no excuse for making staff redundant in the name of efficiency while continuing to have over half of all councillors eligible for extra responsibility allowances ranging from £3750 to £28000.   The two arguments put against such a review were:
1 From the Leader of the council - we had a full review 2 years ago and shouldn't be looking at changing things now.  If an independent panel looked at how the work of officers has increased over the intervening time they'd probably recommend something different to what we expect.
2. From the leader of the Thornaby Independents - he couldn't support our amendment because the Lib Dems in government supported the cuts.
The logic of both defeated me but seemed to be agreed with by most of the council - only the Lib Dems voted for the Youth Club transition fund and we were joined by one Thornaby Independent for on the Allowances vote.  Such is Stockton Council's way.


tax payers of yarm said...

And can't you just tell its an election year ! Do you really think that the people of Stockton will forget the last 4 years and just think "I must vote those councillors back onto the council, after all they did freeze my council tax" After all, don't we all just want our council being run by oap's and failed business men. No. people too old and too stuck in their ways to realise that its 2011 now, not 1960, should stay firmly where they Parish councils. At least there they only cost us vast amounts of money, but can do little harm.
Its a pity that SBC councillor B*llS**t can by used to fill the potholes in the roads.

Anonymous said...

Why did your group fail to make the same representation only a few months ago at Cabinet as you did at Council on Wednesday evening? Cabinet approved the allowances to Members for 2011/12 and decided rightly to freeze allowances for Members this coming year the same as staff. All you see from you and your Group is "gesture" statements and "sound bites" to get articles in the Gazette, but ignore the real issues faced in the Budget as outlined so well by the Chief Executive.
Shame on you and shame on your Group. By the way, why don't you just do the honourable thing and just accept less than the maximum amount and say take 5% or 10% off my two SRA payments you receive as the Group Leader (of 5) and the Chair of Environment. You and your colleagues voted for the increase after the last elections, but coming up to the elections, you want to reduce things to make it sound "Arn't those LibDems pretty good people. Those who cannot cope with roles and pass more work on to the "highly paid" Council Officers which you group often refer to should give up those roles.

treeclimber said...

Independently Minded Tree Climber

Noise noise noise. But where is the action Maureen. as many voters are aware the Liberals were invited to join a coalition to run Stockton 4 years ago. They have no right to make the noise that they do if thet are not willing to sit at the top table.
They will never be able to set the agenda or influence policy from the sidelines. The good people of Eaglescliffe and Elm Tree have been taken for mugs. they enjoy the services provided by the tory and Labour run council whilst the liberals take credit. Credit for what you may ask Oh yes laughing all the way to the bank on fat allowances that they should have spoken up against over a year ago.
They knew cuts were on the way last may when the Tory toffs took power, they should have done something about it then and saved some jobs in the services that count elderley care, lollypop ladies, social enterprise, schools the list goes on.
its time to say goodbye to liberal spin just look at nick clegg promising no more fees for students. What else are they going to promise to get your vote then forget about doing.
Go back to your parish and take a rest and let some younger people with energy and commitment take over.