Archive for December, 2010

14 December Borough Council Meeting

December 15, 2010

Here is the agenda for last night
And, here is my brief summary of what happened and what was discussed.

There were some announcements about the coalition general things from various Lead Members.

Then various petitions were presented and/or discussed.  This is a relatively new feature at Borough Council Meetings and thus far I am impressed with it.

Annual Review of the Council’s Complaints Procedures
Again the report confirmed that the establishment of the Members Panel to determine Stage 3 Complaints has been a major success.  I remember the shambles I inherited in 2006 so proud that it has turned around so much.

The Hounslow-Ramallah Town Twinning Association
I hope that people will watch the discussion on the webcast.  Here is the report.  I do not think most residents will be impressed that we spent time on this matter.  As is typical for most Labour Councillors, Councillor Corina Smart disgracefully refused to answer most questions put to her.

Amendment To The Scheme Of Members Allowances
Here.  Labour decided that the Chair of the Licensing Committee should receive a Special Responsibility Allowance of £6,400 – up from £500.  Whilst there was no whip on Conservative Members, the vast majority opposed the increase and none supported it.  What I found most frustrating was the refusal of the recipient of this increase, Councillor Tom Bruce, to state why he believed it was necessary.  I have once voted for an increase in Special Responsibility Allowances but got on my feet to justify it at the time (2007).  I also made reference to it in a leaflet that went out in Feltham North.

I tabled the following question to Councillor Theo Dennison, Executive Member for Finance and Performance

“At the most recent Local Elections, Labour promised a fresh war on waste and a Council Tax cut for all residents.  Does this mean that there will be a cut in each of the next four budgets?”

He confirmed that there would not be Council Tax decreased for each of the next four years.  What he refused to do was explain what the election promise meant in terms of Council Tax – will be it a one-off decrease or an overall decrease?  He merely said that the promise was clear.

Almost as clear as the promise from Labour that could have been read as 500 more police before the election but now amount to an additional 100 overalls.

Councillor Robert Oulds asked Councillor Sachin Gupta, Executive Member for Education the following question:

“The consultation for the School Place Planning Strategy 2010-2020 ran until 3 December 2010.  Breaking the information down by the five areas of the Borough, how many responses have been received?”

The only thing I learnt from Councillor Gupta was that he now realises that there is a need for more primary school places, having recently questioned whether we need anymore in the West Area of the Borough.

Councillor Colin Botterill asked Councillor Theo Dennison the following:

“Breaking the information down by financial year, what is the forecast of cashable savings that will be delivered by the Savings and Transformation Programme?”

I need to listen to the webcast as Councillor Dennison gave figures.  I think Councillor Dennison has confused the In Year Savings (much of it Salami Slicing) with the Savings and Transformation Programme.  He has previously had difficulty with forecasting and now he seems to struggle with how money is banked and aligned to what?

The first of the tabled motions (agenda item 14) discussed something Hounslow are unable to influence.  Could this have anything to do with the next motion?  Probably, as we ran out of time.

Meeting ended at around 10:30pm

World Cup bid

December 2, 2010

As anyone who knows me or reads what I have said in the past will know, I was opposed to the bid for the London 2012 Olympic Games – my main concerns being over cost and legacy (but really want it to be a success).

I have far less concerns about the World Cup bid and got my fingers crossed that England will win today.