Sunday, 5 March 2017

Cllr Reggie Jones resigns his Labour Council seat

Cheshire Conservatives will miss the antics of Cllr Reggie Jones from Blacon, who resigned this morning (Fri 3rd of March), hours after supporting Labour to raise Council tax by almost 4%. Had he quit last Friday as planned or even yesterday, residents would be paying a lower council tax

At the budget council meeting last night (Thurs), Cheshire West Conservative Councillors put forward alternative budget plans for 0% change to council tax but were voted down by the Labour Administration to increase council tax by 1.99%, the maximum rise without triggering a borough referendum.

With growing pressures in social care, the Conservatives wanted to see more progress made on established plans to integrate health and care for older and vulnerable residents. Tory proposals for a 3%  rise to the adult social care precept were voted down and set at 2% by Labour. With delayed discharge from hospital running at 13,256 days this year in Cheshire West, Conservatives believe that more can be done locally to help residents and relieve pressures on the NHS.

Proposals to spend less on ICT, buildings and council staff were put forward in a package of measures to keep tax rises down for households, many of whom are just-about-managing on low and fixed incomes.

"We asked Labour to rethink the timing of introducing the local living wage which is set higher than the national living wage that comes in next month" said Neil Sullivan, Handbridge Ward Councillor. " It's really important to think through the implications and who will be paying this higher rate of pay for Council staff. The majority of older residents pay for some or all of their care and this policy will mean higher costs for them, many of whom live on fixed incomes. Low paid workers will be paying higher tax rates to fund higher wages for those in the public sector.

We also wanted to stop the taxpayer picking up the tab for Trade Union representatives as this is unfair when difficult decisions are being made about public services."

“Too many Labour plans had big budgets but no detailed plans “ commented Lynn Riley, leader of the Conservative Group at CWAC. “ the taxpayer shouldn’t be asked to pay higher tax rates to front load huge projects for ICT and new buildings that will take years to deliver, especially when the council budget is £1.5m underspent this year and mot council buildings have empty space“
Cllr Jones' resignation leaves a vacancy and a by election on CWaC for his Blacon ward seat. Cllr Jones will also no longer be sitting on the Board of Avenue Services in Blacon, a charity which I also hold a Board position. In light of his resignation the council now has no overall majority as both Lab and the Conservatives have equal numbers of seats. It will be interesting to see how Lab run the program of meetings that deliver our democracy over the next few weeks.
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