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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Last night's cabinet meeting

Last night was the Council's cabinet meeting where the Labour administration make the official decisions. Myself and the Conservative party as opposition have the right to ask questions about their decisions. The main items that came up in the meeting were:

1/ Acton Town Hall redevelopment - I asked about why the Council in the report in one section are open to having a school and a community centre and in another section indicates it wants to sell the Priory for housing! The Leader of the Council indicated (without giving a proper answer to my first questions) that in the July meeting they will make a firm decision. Based upon that decision we can decide whether we are happy with the Council's plans.

2/ Taxicard Consultation and recommendations - this relates to a service Transport for London and the Council fund (80% by TfL) to provide taxi for those who tend not to have access to lifts or public transport because of disabilities. The Council consulted and now wish to make more cuts to this service. Given the overall budget is relatively small (in terms of the overall Council budget) it means that the Council should have the control to find money to avoid these types of cuts that affect vulnerable individuals.
3/ Council's financial strategy - it appears that whilst stating all the Council's cuts are due to the government, they themselves (The Council) are adding to the burden by estimating that we need more cuts than are needed. The estimate from the officer was that over the next 3 years between 24 and 32 million pounds is needed to 'break even'. Labour have decided to make cuts to the level of £30 million and so are cutting by 6 million pounds more than they need to!

4/ Energy procurement - I spoke up to congratulate the council on an initiative where the Council will spend £1.5 million pounds in conjunction with another organisation to reduce energy bills by installing devices or altering patterns of use in 6 of the largest Council buildings. The company will guarantee (legally) that over 8 years the 1.5 million will be saved. If not they pay the excess.

5/ Borough Bus review - I raised a number of bus matters amongst the detailed report about lots of chnages to the borough's bus routes. I also raised the matter of how the Council does not seem to interact with residents when discussing new or altered routes. However there is an unofficial (not publicised) committee called the Bus Liaison Group. This was said to involve the Council, TfL, and residents. It therefore needs its profile raised.

6/ Local Implementation Plan - This is the Council's transport plan which is funded by the Mayor of London. I congratulated the Council on its plans for an Ealing Broadway cycle hub but laid into the Council for its weak / tame approach to an Ealing B'way Transport Interchange. The Labour councillor said he was knocking heads together on this (there is no evidence of this).

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