Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Feedback on yesterday's meeting of Copeland Council

Two particular issues were discussed

1) The council's accounts for 2006/7 and 2007/8 have still not been finalised.

A report from the audit commission had been presented to the council's Audit Committee last week. Because it has been classified as a "Part II" (e.g. confidential) document by council officers, members of the council were extremely limited in what we were able to say about it.

The Conservatives believe that the public should be entitled to know about some of the things in the report, and said so: we also asked if the report could be circulated to all councillors, and if a public report could be made on the progress in sorting out the accounts.

However it did come out in the debate that

* Finalising the accounts has fallen further behind schedule

* There will be extra costs beyond those previously reported although nobody is yet able to say how much.

2) The Rugby club

The Labour Leader stunned the council by proposing during the Executive Report, with no notice whatsoever, that the council should put forward one present and one former member of the Executive as Directors of Whitehaven Rugby Club.

They refused to accept an amendment that these directors should stand on a temporary basis while the principle of how the council should support the club is given more consideration.

At one point they tried to make it difficult for anyone not to support the motion to nominate these directors by linking that proposal with a motion of confidence in the club, but this was dropped when it was pointed out how unreasonable that would be.

The motion was carried with the votes of all the Labour councillors, with the Conservatives and Independent voting against.

Other issues: I repeated my request for the council to press the NHS trusts to support the hospital remaining on the Hensingham site and for the quickest possible decision while the money is still there.

It was agreed to ask the Harbour Commission to look at turning on "The Wave" (a system of lights in Whitehaven Harbour on which a lot of money has been spent) more frequently.

The council will be reviewing refuse collection arrangements over the Christmas period: as usual a number of councillors including myself received complaints about how this had gone in some areas.

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