At tonight's meeting the Conservative leader wasn't present and his two colleagues did not give any explanation. Since he is giving his Leadership up, in about a months' time, he might be fed up with attending important meetings?
The items which I spoke to or were interesting are as follows:
1/ I welcomed the Council's plans to invest in Information Technology - this is something the Tories are against!
2/ The Council plan to have about 60 of their [current] staff wear florescent tops which apparently now means they will be uniformed officers. This gimmik means that Labour will meet one of their local election pledges. On this item I used some basic maths to show that 1+9+9+60 does not equal 90 (numbers of council officers and police in the council reports). The Labour councillor then squirmed as he juggled some figures not in the report show that the report was accurate. In the end it would have been easier if the report was accurate, avoiding the Labour councillor from having to explain himself in a defensive manner. A suggestion I took from Councillor Jon Ball that Special Constables should get a discount in Council Tax to encourage more people to become Special Officers, was not accepted by the Labour Councillors sadly. The Council plan is that they are reducing the number of PCSOs and replacing with a few PCs. They are also altering the structure of how the council staff and police officers work together.
3/ It was agreed to set up a Consultation Panel to discuss borough Planning items. This has been something we have pressed the Council to do for about 6 months. It was confirmed that each political party will be represented - it is likely that Jon Ball will be our representative on the panel. The Panel will select at its first meeting a number of community representatives.
4/ On a transport related item I raised the issue of the proposed Transport Interchange at Ealing Broadway. The budgeted sum of £100,000 will be spent on a combination of a cycle hub and work to plan for what is needed for tranport improvements at Ealing Broadway station. I said this wasn't bold enough and what Ealing needed was to have a station that is fully accessible and not money wasted on re-arranging the bus stops. We await what the money actually is spent on as it might just be spent on doing what Transport for London want to do (which will give us little improvement on this matter). I added that the monies for improving cycling and increasing car clubs usage was helpful to a better transport system.