At the Lancashire County Council, Cabinet Meeting (3rd December 2018) during what should have been the discussion of the Conservatives proposal to cut £77 million from council services budgets. The Conservative Leader of the Council, fully supported by his Cabinet suspended the meeting and they all walked out of their own meeting. When they returned and the meeting reconvened the Conservative Cabinet moved the £77 million of cuts without any further debate.
The councils Webcam System, which is supposed to enable the public to view council meetings making them open and transparent to the public was also shut down and all council live recording stopped.
This all appeared to be caused by two petition of over 3000 peoples signatures being handed in , which opposed the proposal to introduce on street parking to towns across Lancashire, as part of income generation for the budget.
Cllr Azhar Ali, Leader of Lancashire Labour Group, said “This was an affront to democracy and a slap in the face of Lancashire People. Local people expect their councillors to be open and honest in their actions. Especially when it comes to these massive cuts in their services, running away from public debate will not help anyone.”
“Every Lancashire Conservative Councillor is fully responsible for the actions of its Cabinet today, along with the government who we have raised concerns with regarding bullying and intimidation be this Conservative Administration, now we have shutting down democracy. All this chaos, to cover up its farcical financial management.”
Cllr John Fillis, Deputy Leader of Lancashire Labour Group, said” We were hoping to discuss the impact their cuts in these vital service would have on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. As well as the increase in service cost covering “car parking” to “elderly day care” of up to 15%. This is on top of the 6% council tax increase with more increases in council tax to come.”
“Instead we have this chaotic Conservative Administration shutting down its own meeting to prevent constructive opposition and councillors supporting the people they represent. While blocking the Webcast to prevent the public seeing what they were doing.”
“It would appear that all the £77 million proposed cuts will be going ahead on top of the £600 million cuts imposed by government. The Conservatives have now stepped outside of normal democratic practices. So it is uncertain how they will treat the public consultation, with today’s antics it can only be with contempt.”