On Thursday I attended the Scrutiny Committee to observe what would happen to Area Committee’s.
Conservative Councillor Richard Pope pointed out £200,000 hadn’t been spent and suggested that locality budgets would have been quicker. Labour councillor Sandy Martin replied saying that county locality budgets are for one off projects and that the Area Committee’s have only just realised that they had money to spend. He then made the claim that it’s really hard to spend money. Imagine that! A member of the party that spent so much money we now owe billions, said it’s very hard to spend money. It’s a pity they never encountered such a problem while in government isn’t it?
Councillor Pope then asked what the difference in cost was between Area Committee’s and Area Forums and was informed that the cost is the same. Councillor Pope then asked if it would be cheaper for a borough officer to spend an hour with every resident of Ipswich. Sandy Martin said that it wouldn’t be.
Conservative Councillor Kym Stroet then asked if the committee’s belonged to the councillor’s or the chair. Sandy Martin then came out with some squit about there being rules to stop the committee’s being party political as if Labour don’t use them for party political purposes and it was never their original intention to do so.
Councillor Stroet then asked who chose the agenda and was told that the chairman chose the agenda. At this North East Area Committee chairman, Alasdair Ross started getting a bit irate claiming that he does not chair the committee like a dictator. Councillor Stroet was then informed that he could write to the monitoring officer if the chairman refused to put something on the agenda he wanted on it. Councillor Stroet said that the information was useful and Alasdair Ross was really jarred off.
The item ended with Roger Fern making some recommendations and councillor’s Pope and Stroet seconding them and all voting in favour of the recommendations.