by Gareth Wilson on 26 January, 2010
What a muddle at the Community Services Committee last week. The Tory administration’s agenda proposals on the very important budget items clearly had not been discussed, either with the so-called partners or (as became apparent during the debate) even with the councillor members of the committee. One item to save £2,000 suddenly became an item to cost £8,000 and was hastily withdrawn. The proposal to bring the arts service in-house had no justification figures but was alleged to save £25,000. However, due to public protests the Conservative administration’s proposal was reversed during the week before the meeting and a new proposal was put to members just an hour before the meeting started. Apparently, ADeC with a financial gun to their head had been forced to agree to a halving of their grant over the next two years.
The final muddle was a proposal to save £3,300 by decimating the Ely market. When it looked like even the normally compliant Tory councillors would throw out this proposal, it was suddenly announced that we were really saving £28,000 although no justification was made for this claim. Even the vote at the end of the meeting was a muddle, with standard voting procedure having to be explained to the chairman. How could anyone be expected to vote for such a half-baked mess?
This whole procedure would normally have been debated in the autumn, but has been delayed and delayed again. Plenty of time to get the figures right and for proper consultations with all the parties concerned. But NO, just a MUDDLE.