Saturday, 10 January 2015

Oh come on Julian!

I have to admit to enjoying the blog of Labour councillor Julian Ware Lane.Whilst we may disagree on quite a lot I find many of his views interesting even though would appreciate a little less of the Labour Party rhetoric.

One item which caught my eye was his piece on 30th December heralding the achievements of Labour as part of the Town's joint administration.

I thought I would look at some of his claims.

Taking action on Victoria Avenue after "...years of neglect under the Conservatives." The reality is that we had worked for years to pressurise land owners to redevelop, included the area as a plank of the City Deal bid and eventually in desperation committed funds to purchase or cpo sites in a budget which Julian voted against!

Looking to invest in community facilities including references to Hamstel Children's Centre and libraries. The campaign on Hamstel was cross party and well embedded prior to this Administration. For all the talk of libraries the much heralded review did not reverse any of the economies or save any fte jobs but simply moved the chairs to claim a move away from the previous proposals agreed by a cross party group.

Addressing the housing crisis and investing in community facilities. Well let's see what they actually deliver particularly with the looming budget proposals. I would rather judge on results than claims!

Shoebury sea wall plans. Well I would refer to my last blog item and in any event surely Julian voted in favour of the scheme which he now seems to castigate.

The reality is that local government is like a large oil tanker. It takes a long time to change course or implement new initiatives. In so far as we are currently seeing the Administration claiming credit for good service delivery this reflects the achievements of the last Administration. It is too early to judge the current team but the first major test will be their budget proposals. The major challenge is producing a balanced budget whilst protecting core services and in my view the Rainbow Alliance have a hard act to follow.

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