Thursday, 9 December 2010

December Full Council report

Yesterdays Full Council was I think the first 'full on' Tweet Council with myself, Kath Pinnock from the Lib Dems and Leader of the council Mehboob Khan all participating on Twitter (plus 'LibDemKitty' I think I've worked out who that is!). Was there a value in it? Yes I think so. You could certainly get an insight into  our meetings you wouldn't have had otherwise. Take for instance the Lib Dem amendment on opposing the cuts to  provision for  Schools Sports Partnerships. The Greens supported their amendment. When I tweeted to this effect the twitterfeed from Kath Pinnock rather churlishly said 'Shame that 50% Green Group absent from Council'. For those of you who don't know there are only 4 us. One of our 4, Cllr Julie Stewart-Turner had to leave the meeting as she was a Governor for Newsome High School, a Specialist Sports College and had an interest in the motion, and Cllr Graham Simpson was late because he was attending a Tenants Association meeting. So a rather unpleasant attack on the Greens who were actually supporting a Lib Dem Amendment. I thought they could do with all the support they could get at present.

Another Lib Dem Amendment we supported was one on Planning Protocols. The amendment insisted that Cllrs on the Planning Committee attend training on Planning (what else). The Conservaties were opposed to this as many of them hadn't gone to training and were quite happy to spout away in an uninformed fashion at Planning meetings potentially leaving the Council open to challenge during an appeal process. My contribution to the debate was to point out that decisions backed up by knowledge should be more important than simple opinion on planning matters. This provoked a rather unpleasant verbal barrage on me by Conservative Councillor Mrs Christine Smith which I found fairly amusing to be honest. I'm not on her Christmas Card list!

During questions I asked the Labour Cabinet Member Councillor Mr Ken Smith what his opinion was of the impact of the rise in Tuition fees on young people in Kirklees. He gave his view that it was potentially disastrous and agreed to my request to write to the Government to express this view. This provoked much comment from Lib Dem Cllrs who defended the tuition fees policy. This directly contradicted the expressed opinions of Lib Dem Candidates during the General Election which I pointed out (and they ignored). I also asked Cllr Peter O Neill what his views were on 'The Big Society'. He gave me a very full response. So much so that I was unable to get my supplementary question in before time was up unfortunately.

Over 600 people watched the Council meeting on the Web but according to Kath Pinnock webcasting of Council meetings 'doesn't work'. Yes there have been some technical issues that some people have encountered but generally it has gone pretty well. I think the problem for Kath is that it was a Green Party proposal and that gives her a rather jaundiced view on the subject. Cest la vie.

After the meeting I collected a large sealed envelope with the papers for the 'Star Chamber' meeting on Friday and Monday to discuss the Kirklees Budget for the next year. In the envelope are the officers views of how we will acheive the Lib Dem/Con Governments spending cuts. This will not make pleasant reading.

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