Friday, 23 October 2009

News From The Council

I know none of you dear readers can get enough of what's going on in the local political scene, so here's some more!

Reading Post reports on this month's council meeting by concentrating on the upheavals in the ranks of Taxi-drivers.

Outside the Civic Centre a protest by licensees over the sale of vehicle licenses was designed to highlight the economic plight of this vocal and close-knit group.

However, as a mirror of the changing political climate, Linda Fort exposes how political differences among members of the Reading Taxi Association has resulted in a three-way split.

So it was left up to local councillors to cover the fuller range of business on the agenda.

Cllr Goodall decided to make use of Twitter in providing a live personalised report of proceedings and he also went to the effort of aggregating his tweets into a complete account on his blog.

Conservative Cllr Luckett provides an overview of events as he describes the light-hearted start to the evening which was followed by a series of events each of which he describes in turn as 'bizarre'.

He chooses to turn attack dog against the LibDems over their stance on the Civic Centre relocation plans and the 10:10 Climate Change motion while relegating the finance discussion, which LibDem Cllr Duveen summarises as the main political difference to emerge during the evening.

Reading Borough Council's annual accounts were signed off during August, but a £3.6m 'windfall' from reclaimed VAT payments going back to the 1970's has since been added to the budget - good news at a time of economic crisis you might think, but it resulted in an unseemly spat over how to spend it.

Conservative Cllr Stevens had proposed keeping it in the budget to fund a freeze on Council Tax next year, but Labour argued this was irresponsible management. Cllr Lovelock said you can't "simply magic away" current budget pressures.

This led to tories responding with the accusation that Labour had failed to stick to their budgets, while Labour struck back by saying the Conservatives didn't care about vulnerable people who depend on those services.

Holding the balance of power the LibDems then took their turn to warn Labour that the cash shouldn't be used to bail them out of their troubles, as Cllr Swaine said it should be used "for people who needed to be protected."

In the end the Labour proposal passed with LibDem support, so it was no wonder Conservatives got peeved!

Meanwhile Cllr Willis steers clear of politics by providing a record of the questions he posed and the answers he recieved.


Update: Cllr Willis gives a much more politicised account of the political items on the agenda.

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