This cabinet meeting was what Labour thought would be a suitable chance to discuss the problems that occurred in April and some streets are still having issues. The view of my party, the Liberal Democrats, is that there should be a full, open, public debate about the causes of the problems so that we can avoid this type of issue never affecting Ealing again. At a council meeting last month the Labour party decided a full investigation was not required.
After quite a large number of questions that were fielded at the Leader of the Council, the Labour councillor in charge of missed collections of household waste and senior Council staff, the Leader of the council indicated he would not disagree with a meeting to discuss the issue more. Quite right. That was why my party have said that open and public scrutiny is needed. And why we collected a large number of signatures to get a proper scrutiny of the reasons why so many residents in Ealing suffered.
From questions I asked it appears that somewhere between £5,000 and £10,000 of cost has been taken on board at the time when the non collection problems arose.
Another question seemed to indicate that at the start of the contract Enterprise had all the correct vehicles needed to do their job effectively. But other Council published fact shows that extra vehicles are not to arrive in Ealing until the middle of June. And then another councillor stated that it would be the end of July!!! Meetings should answer questions in a way where clarity comes from chaos but tonight more questions were raised than were answered.
The contractor, Enterprise, had staff in the meeting but they were not invited to speak. Why? The issues suffered by residents has come from the combined effect of the contractor and Ealing Council not managing the contractor effectively.
The Liberal Democrat are to call in (for review) this topic and so we hope to get answers as to why what occurred actually occurred and crucially changes of policy so that the same saga can never occur again.
Earlier in the meeting two subjects were raised:
1. The council's review of art provision:
- It appears the Council is not being proactive and instead is happy to only look at reviewing the use of Ealing Town Hall and not being active in ensuring it could identify where certain arts needs are not being met.
- Most of the Council's recommendations are current council policies and so it seems the group of Councillors reviewing arts provision have not collectively stretched themselves to look what art could look link in Ealing in the next five or ten years.
2. Southall Car Park
- I again mentioned the Liberal Democrats opposition to spending £5 million on a car park where there is no business case.
- Figures from the Council showed that the new car park (once they know where it will be!) is almost certain to lose money. So we spend £5 million on a car park that there is little need for when Council money could be better spent on helping vulnerable members of society. Crazy.
Lastly there was an item of cycling which I have a passion for. My group and the Labour-run Council both support and promote activities to encourage cycling. I am someone who says when a councillor or party has made the right decision even it is not my party. And on cycling the Labour council has been making positive plans to improve road safety for cyclists so I am more than happy to work with them to promote initiatives that reduce the number of accidents on our roads. Sometimes politicians can work together!