Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Libraries - Cllr Longley to the rescue!

I see from today’s Echo that Graham Longley the Lib Dem Leader and new Deputy Leader of the Council has “..issued instructions to stop work on the library proposals.” This decision made me smile for a number of reasons. Firstly this decision to restructure the service to make it more financially sustainable going forward was made following extended work by a cross council member group, detailed consultation with the public, scrutiny and a debate in full council. I note it is now acceptable for a portfolio holder to stop this action without any decision by cabinet or council. The changes were to deliver an ongoing revenue saving. How will this be met? Even if the proposals are simply delayed rather than abandoned it will have revenue implications. Cllr Longley is going to ask officers for alternatives. What does he think they were asked for before and why would the outcome be any different? Finally it is interesting to note that when the library changes were discussed at full council there was a vote to refer the decision back which was defeated. Who was the only member of the new cabinet to oppose reference back? You have guessed it - Cllr Graham Longley. The other interesting thing about this announcement is that we do not have a single party group in control with an established manifesto and priorities. I wonder how some of the foot soldiers in the Labour, Lib Dem and Indie Groups feel about significant decisions being announced via the local press. I suppose it does give a nice photo opportunity for members of the new cabinet.


  1. "...we do not have a single party group in control with an established manifesto and priorities."

    Oh contraire!


  2. Matthew

    Thanks for your comment but if you are suggesting that this new administration will be driven by the Labour agenda I do not agree. They have elected a Leader who in many ways is more right wing in outlook than I am. His central belief appears to be that local authorities should not borrow and has repeatedly argued that current borrowing levels are too high. He has also previously argued for higher council house rents and low council tax. In the current financial squeeze most of Labour's aspirations will require higher revenue generation (council tax receipts or fees and charges!) and increased capital spend which can only be financed through greater borrowing. He has unusually retained control of the Support Services portfolio and according has control over all aspects of council finance, spending and borrowing. Either your plans or his views on finance will have to go and my money is on Cllr Woodley winning this particular argument supported by his new Lib Dem and UKIP chums!