Thursday, 28 February 2013

If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen!

The bubble finally burst at a meeting of Wrecsam's Full Council last night as months of self inflicted PR disasters finally got to the Coalition leadership and they showed their true colours. Last night was an important meeting where we met to agree the £230 million budget and to set the council tax. All Councillors were supportive of the budget including the 14 opposition Councillors. There was one issue that we wanted a reassurance on and that was the reinstatement of the £10,000 funding for Kerbcraft where the Regional Transport organisation TAITH had reduced the funding. This decision had caused Wrecsam Council and its leadership considerable angst and criticism in the press and resulted in an unprecedented outburst by the Leader of the Council and Deputy when the question was posed by the Leader of the Wrexham Independent Group, Cllr David A Bithell. 

The Leader of the Council accused members of the Wrexham Independent Group of 'misinformation' and that there were no plans to cut Kerbcraft funding whilst the Deputy Leader accused Independent Group members of playing politics with child safety and then launched a personal  attack on Independent Group member, Cllr Bill Baldwin for attending a Kerbcraft protest outside the Guildhall and again accused us of spreading misinformation. Despite several attempts at raising points of order and a right of reply the Chair (or Mayor as they like to be called), Cllr Ian Roberts refused our requests and was determined to move away from the Kerbcraft 'hot potato'. This prompted Councillor David A Bithell to move an amendment asking for reassurances that Kerbcraft funding would be retained at its current levels. It was claimed that there was no need for the amendment as the council didn't intend to cut the funding in the first place! Having received the requisite reassurance the Wrexham Independent Group withdrew their amendment and the budget passed.

Whilst I don't wish to dwell on the question of misinformation perhaps the words of the Chair of TAITH, Conwy Councillor Mike Priestley puts this question to bed once and for all,

"Taith covers a number of projects such as drink-drive, seat belts, pass plus [an extended test for young drivers] and we need to budget for a scheme to save the lives of young motorcyclists," he said. 
"We have done as much as we can to protect Kerbcraft and the decision on the cuts was voted for by Taith members which includes councillors from all north Wales councils. 
"it was not a decision that was taken lightly and the way forward is to work together as some councils could make up the shortfall, or some schools could contribute towards Kerbcraft costs.
All in all, not Wrecsam Council's finest moment. 

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