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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Report of last night's Full Council meeting in Ealing Town Hall

Here is an update of a meeting that went on longer than most do. The key points to note are as follows:

I asked the Council Leader what proportion of the Priory Centre user groups have found replacement accomodation in Acton or the borough. He declined to answer the question so we have to assume that zero or almost none of the groups have found accommodation. Most priority must be given to help the groups.

There was a petiton handed in relating to the possible (likely) closure of Ealing Hospital. Lib Dem Councillor excellently spoke up for patients and residents about the need to keep Ealing Hospital open and offering the full range of services. Cllr Bakhai also suggested that all three Ealing party Leaders sign a letter he has written to show Ealing Council's cross party campaign to save Ealing council. Positive action on this. Let's keep fighting.

There was a second petition relating to the Labour Garden Tax which they are to introduce early next year. I spoke up to register my disagreement to this barmy idea. Recycling must be free. Anything else and we are sending a signal that we want residents to either not recycle different forms of waste - or worse it might encourage lots of extra fly-tipping.

After the petition was handed in (it contained about 5000 signatures) there was a vote as to whether the Council should look at the Garden Tax plans again. The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives voted for this extra scrutiny but Labour voted to push ahead with its plans. Very sad.

There was a motion later that discussed Ealing Council and the cuts it has been making in particular the parts of the budget that are to affect vulnerable residents in a bad way. The council needs to revisit some of these decisions. Councillors Jon Ball and Harvey Rose spoke up about different service areas that will be affected.

The next debate was on the issue of the Government's Pupil Premium. This is bringing £5 million to schools in Ealing to help those children who are most disadvantaged. The debate was led by Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Steed who welcomed the Pupil Premium.

At this point Labour decided it was a good idea to be louder than roudy. In fact them and the Conservative spent the rest of the meeting shouting at each other rather than debating the issues. So from the vote it seems clear that the Labour party are against the Pupil Premium. I am sure the schools across Ealing will not welcome that sort of approach from the Labour party.

There was motion (not debated) which it became apparent that the Liberal Democrats and Labour both welcome solar power to reduce the costs of providing energy for residents. Solar cells are now profitable. With the rise in oil, gas and electricity prices we need to do more to reduce our demand on foreign oil supplies which are costly and worse for the environment. Shame the Ealing Tories do not see this...

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