Friday, 1 November 2013

No Credit due!

Back from Budapest and straight into a Full Council meeting, the agenda was short but there were two motions being put to council.

As is usual at Full Council before the meeting a briefing is held for all councillors on a topical subject, this week it was a talk on the Ipswich Credit Union. With the rise of the pay day money lenders, it is important that councillors area ware of the Credit Union and the services they provide as we see a rise in the number of our constituents who need come to us seeking financial advice.

Disappointingly, though 18 Labour councillors attended, there were no Tory or Lib Dem councillors present. When I tweeted this, I was accused of a taking a low shot as a Tory activist informed me that all the Tory councillors were at work!! He was wrong, as their absence was due to them attending a group meeting – you would have thought (as they had plenty of pre-warning about the Credit Union talk) that they would have arranged it a different time.

Once the meeting started we had very few questions from the opposition, with for once the Lib Dems taking the tile for ‘pointless question of the week’ when Cllr Lockington asked about who was responsible for the fences in Ipswich Cemetery – why she had to ask that at Full Council was beyond most of us in attendance, as was tweeted later were the fences damaged by the Lib Dems always sitting on them!

The two motions were on the Government plan to toll the new A14 and about the closure of HMRC Valuation Office in Ipswich. For once there was all party support for a motion, with all sides critical of the plan to toll the A14. With the majority of the Tory MP’s in Suffolk also now against tolling the road, you do wonder why the Government are to continue with the plan. Maybe to help with this show of solidarity, no mention was made about the Tory County Council voting to still contribute a million pounds of our money towards the cost of the new road – strange also that when it went to the County Council the Lib Dems supported the Tories but this week Inga voted with Labour. I wonder if she has raised her concerns with Nick Clegg

This show of unity soon vanished when we went onto the second motion about the closure of the valuation office, Cllr John Cook gave a powerful speech when proposing the motion but instead of a reply from the Tory leader, Chris Stewart we had the usual anti Gordon Brown rant from John Carnall, he blamed everything on Gordon, no mention that it was an international financial meltdown. The only thing he did not blame our man from Kirkcaldy for was the storm last week, but I am sure he wanted to! We then had a number of comments from both sides with the Tory Nadia Cenci feeling she had to say something even if it did not seem to add to the debate. But after allowing former leader John Carnall to reply to the motion, Chris Stewart did feel he should speak and said that if something is not being used or not needed it should close, strange after his deputy Cllr Vickery had earlier asked a question about the partial closure of sports centres – does he now think if they are not being used they should be closed?

Both motions were passed and the meeting closed, though the Tory Group did seem more united, having a group meeting just before Full Council did not seem to have helped make them any more effective than previously – well at least this time we did not have three of them walking out! Then again as one left early and three did not attend the meeting, if any had walked out the Lib Dems with two councillors may have become the official party of opposition!

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