Yesterday was the Ipswich full council meeting.
Before councillor’s questions started, Westgate ward Councillor for Labour, Carole Jones apologised to Conservative Councillor for Bixley Ward, Richard Pope for any offence caused by her quip at the previous meeting.
I was then hoping for an apology from Gipping Ward Councillor for Labour, David Ellesmere for calling me bizarre, sadly it was not forthcoming.
The first question was by Conservative Councillor for Stoke Park, Nadia Cenci to Bridge Ward Councillor for Labour, Phil Smart about spitting. Phil Smart was unable to make it to the meeting and was therefore unable to answer the question.
Question two was by Conservative Councillor for Stoke Park, Nadia Cenci to Gipping Ward Councillor for Labour, David Ellesmere, asking if he was going to resign as leader of the council as he is Labour’s perspective parliamentary candidate also. Our Dear Leader started his answer by saying that he was sorry to disappoint Councillor Cenci and then to the absolute delight of all the Conservatives present he said that he wasn’t proposing to resign as leader of the council. He then proceeded to tell us all he is doing as the Politburo General Secretary of the Soviet Republic of Ipswich. It was quite a yawn. His Comrades clapped and cheered at the end of it. As her supplementary question, Conservative Councillor for Stoke Park, Nadia Cenci asked if he agreed with Jamie Cann and Chris Mole standing down as leader of the council when they became candidates. Our Dear Leader continued to tell us all about what the administration is doing under his leadership. Councillor Cenci called a point of order to the Mayor, stating that Councillor Ellesmere was not answering her question. After which, David Ellesmere continued rabbiting on about how marvellous he is. The Dear Leader was then clapped and cheered by his comrades even though the way he was talking, you’d think they’d be helpless without him.
Question three was by Conservative Councillor for Castle Hill, Robin Vickery to Bridge Ward Councillor for Labour, Bryony Rudkin on the future of Maidenhall Sports Centre. Councillor Rudkin informed us that Maidenhall Sports Centre is safe until 2017. As Ipswich Labour said that Ransomes Sports Club was safe, should we believe it? As his supplementary question, Conservative Councillor for Castle Hill, Robin Vickery asked if there was any threats to other sports centre’s like Whitton. councillor Rudkin said there wasn’t
Question four was by Conservative Councillor for Whitton and Conservative group leader, Chris Stewart to Bridge Ward Councillor for Labour, Phil Smart about the towns traffic light management system. Fortunately, Phil Smart was unable to make it to the meeting and was therefore unable to answer the question.
Question five was by Conservative Councillor for Whitton and Conservative group leader, Chris Stewart to Gainsborough councillor for Labour, Martin Cook about business Rate income. Councillor Cook gave a very rambling reply. Councillor Stewart’s supplementary question was brilliant. He asked what was being done to encourage investment into Ipswich and how the borough was going to allow the development of skills and investment for the future prosperity of the town.
Question six was by
Saint Margaret’s ward Residents Association Liberal Democrat, Inga Lockington to Councillor Smart about Street Trees. Councillor Smart was not there to answer it.
The final question was also by Councillor Lockington. It was to Alexandra Councillor for Labour, Adam Leeder concerning the boundary fence of the crematorium. It was about who is responsible for it. Why she felt the need to ask a question at the full council meeting about it when as a councillor she could have easily found out herself, I don’t know. She was informed that it is the borough’s responsibility unless it borders the railway line and then it is Network Rail’s responsibility. Councillor Lockington then mentioned a stretch of fence that was down. The question was submitted before Monday morning’s storm.
Item 9 was concerning the upgrade of the A14 and the proposed tolled section. It seems that my second question I asked at the previous council meeting where I was called bizarre in reply, which I reported on here, had in fact been taken to heart. Ipswich Labour appeared to be actually taking our county-township seriously. I hate writing this. David Ellesmere’s speech opposing the tolling of the A14 was surprisingly brilliant. He said that tolls would be a barrier to the prosperity of Suffolk. A barrier of finance rather than time. He spoke of the effect on Suffolk business and the effect on the Port of Felixstowe. The tax on hauliers would damage Suffolk. No consultation regarding it had been made outside Cambridgeshire. The motion was seconded by Conservative Group leader Chris Stewart.
Labour Councillor. John Le Grys mentioned that it was £18 for lorries to use the Severn Bridge and such tolling would kill Felixstowe. To suddenly see Ipswich Labour take our county-township seriously was a good reward for being called bizarre.
Conservative Group leader Chris Stewart talked about how we want to encourage trade for Ipswich and tolling the A14 in Cambridgeshire would be detrimental to it. We have traditionally been a town built on trade with our port and rail and road links to the rest of the country. Now most of the import and export side of trade is now done at the port of Felixstowe but we still receive the benefits of that trade. We are in a position to manufacture and export to the rest of the world from Ipswich. We are also in the position to manufacture and sell to the rest of the United Kingdom but tolling the A14 would damage our competitiveness. Obviously the motion was voted for unanimously.
Item 10 was about the HM Revenue and Customs offices in Ipswich closing as part of the cuts made necessary by Labour wrecking the economy. It was brought forward by John Cook, the Labour councillor who cares for Ipswich so much that he spends his Saturday afternoons at Carrot Road supporting that bunch of donkeys that are going to be relegated this season. It was seconded by Rushmere Councillor for Labour, Tracy Grant.
Conservative Councillor for Bixley Ward, John Carnall gloriously tore the motion apart. He stated that we are in the digital age and the approach HMRC was taking is the same approach the Borough Council is taking. Therefore the Labour administration was being hypocritical. Labour are hypocrites? I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more. Councillor Carnall then proceeded to explain why these cuts are necessary. For eight years Labour were spending more than they were receiving through taxation. John Carnall mentioned that there was going to be no compulsory redundancies.
Lib Dem Andy Cann said that he agreed with both groups to a point. He stated that the Lib Dems would not support the motion because of the phrase “and relevant unions” It is not normal for councils to work with unions in other government departments.
Labour’s Councillor Martin then said that the economic mess that made cuts necessary wasn’t Labour’s fault. Interestingly today, Tony Blair disagrees. More on that story here. Ellesemere asked opposition councillors why they don’t support Ipswich. Councillor Stewart’s reply was brilliant. He said that we need a business plan for Ipswich to want a HMRC office like Saint Clare House. If the demand for a product doesn’t exist, then any sensible business would withdraw the product. We need a demand for face to face contact with the Inland Revenue in Ipswich to merit the existence of the facility.
Labour’s Bryony Rudkin said that tax was complicated. Of course, she is absolutely right to say that tax is complicated. It is complicated because the tax system was made complicated by the last Labour government. The same government that made cuts such as this necessary. Naturally the motion was passed due to Labour’s artificial massive majority created by skewed ward boundaries and by Ipswich having to many councillors.