Labour’s Plan B

Brian Norgate

Brian Norgate - a man with a plan

Eastleigh’s Labour councillor Brian Norgate has urged the council to make savings by cutting the subsidy to the Point and the annual Music festival and by reducing the bi-monthly Borough News to two editions a year.

Speaking at last Thursday’s budget meeting the councillor presented a fully costed alternative budget – the only opposing party on the council to do so.

In presenting his budget to the council Brain Norgate referred to what he claimed were broken pledges by the liberal Democrat leader. In particular, the pre-election pledge to not introduce a first charge for residents parking permits.

This issue had been highlighted earlier in the evening by both Conservative leader Godfrey Olson and by Glyn Davies-Dear, leader of the newly formed Independent group who, clearly relishing his new role as a minority party leader, was particularly scathing calling the charge:

“A measure ill thought out and clearly unfair to our residents’

Councillor Norgate’s budget proposals called upon the council to:

  • Remove the charge for residents first parking permits
  • Remove the charge for first visit by a pest control officer
  • Reinstate the council contribution towards a TV licence for housebound residents
  • launch a feasibility study into the establishment of a Mayor’s shop and lottery
  • Reinstate funding to the Twining Association
  • Reverse the councils recent 7.1% increase to the cost of ‘meals on wheels’ for the elderly
  • Reinstate the grant to the Southampton Advice & Representation Centre
  • Arrange for the curtains in the mayor’s parlour to be cleaned
  • To undertake a review of empty housing association properties

These measures could be funded, he claimed by:

  • A £60,000 reduction in The Point’s operating subsidy
  • Restricting the council newspaper ‘Borough News’ to only two issues a year
  • A 25% cut in the subsidy to the Eastleigh Music Festival

Councillor Norgate’s proposals were unanimously voted down by the Liberal Democrat majority who then passed their own budget although in the process of doing so they were treated to the sight of their former colleagues – Lib Dem rebels Broughton, Moore and Davies-Dear resolutely voting against it.

However rejection did not deter Cllr Norgate from asking Cllr House a series of quick fire questions which soon had the Leader jumping in and out of his chair with even briefer answers,

When quizzed about the procedure on exempt business Keith House firmly rejected any suggestion that the procedure might be being abused to conceal matters from public scrutiny saying :

“I don’t like exempt papers”

“Unlike some other council’s we don’t hide things in exempt business that shouldn’t be there”.

Councillors Norgate also called into question the profitability of The Point and Music Festival.

Mr House defended the Point as ‘valuable Community asset’ and accused Cllr Norgate of engaging in a ‘War on the Arts’.

Councillor House also revealed that a cut to this year’s Music Festival subsidy had already been planned and hinted that the festival could be held within The Point itself.

Councillor Norgate later told Eastleigh News:

“I and the Labour party have never been against The Point or the Arts but why should the people of Eastleigh pay for elitist art, not seen by local people so EBC can win awards?”

Councillor Norgate also had questions for Deputy Leader Ann Winstanley regarding the housing list.

Ms Winstanley revealed that this has grown to 5659 families and blamed the previous Labour government for failing to act.

Councillor Norgate later responded:

“It’s clear that throughout the 12 years of the labour government the rules did not change and have been kept by the coalition”

While Ann Winstanley was replying to Councillor Norgate one of her colleagues interjected to query her statement suggesting that perhaps the Deputy Leader had got her figures wrong (easily done).

This prompted Keith House to exclaim:

“You see, the opposition is so poor we have to provide or own!

The fact is that although the Liberal Democrats still enjoy a crushing majority, opposition is now coming from three corners of the chamber and is united on  issues like the inequity of residents parking charges and the size of the council’s Arts budget.

If this dissent is based on voter feedback then perhaps Eastleigh’s Liberal Democrats would do well to take heed.

  4 comments for “Labour’s Plan B

  1. Peter Stewart
    March 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

    To quote Keith House: “…the opposition is so poor we have to provide or own”.

    He is right! But how has it come to this? It was the same when Labour was in “government”… there was no Tory opposition. Why?

    The answer is because there is no difference between the 3 main parties. They all support being governed by Europe. The electorate know it. They know it makes no difference who you vote in. Nothing ever changes. Nothing ever can change because we are governed from Europe. So turnouts decline. Politics dies. Democracy dies. And all that’s left is an unopposed LibDem Council (which is probably the best option as it is perceived as being in the centre).

  2. March 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    To quote Keith House:“…the opposition is so poor we have to provide or own”.He is right!But how has it come to this?It was the same when Labour was in “government”… there was no Tory opposition.Why?The answer is because there is no difference between the 3 main parties.They all support being governed by Europe.The electorate know it.They know it makes no difference who you vote in.Nothing ever changes.Nothing ever can change because we are governed from Europe.So turnouts decline.Politics dies.Democracy dies.And all that’s left is an unopposed LibDem Council (which is probably the best option as it is perceived as being in the centre).  

    Pete, the EU has nothing to do with the criminal amount of OUR money wasted on the Point. That is something Mr House and his sheep have done and continue to do regardless of public wishes to see this elitist, unwanted and non community venue CLOSED DOWN..!! With only 7% of the Borough of Eastleigh using this venue Mr House is wrong and misguided to say that Cllr. Norgate is making war on the arts. Cllr. Norgate has for the first time in a very long time started to understand that the people of Eastleigh do not want or need The Point or is money wasting Music Festival.

  3. Andy Lombardi
    March 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

    To quote Keith House: “…the opposition is so poor we have to provide our own”.

    Be very careful Mr House! With local elections looming there are many who are dissatisfied with the turncoat policies of the LibDems climbing into bed with their puppet masters. The people might be not so quick to catch on to your party at this local election. Come May 2012 the groundswell might be a torrent. Then you’ll not have enough LibDems in chambers to lead the Council, let alone provide your own opposition.

    What was it that John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902)said about power corrupting?

  4. March 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    To quote Keith House: “…the opposition is so poor we have to provide our own”.
    Be very careful Mr House! With local elections looming there are many who are dissatisfied with the turncoat policies of the LibDems climbing into bed with their puppet masters. The people might be not so quick to catch on to your party at this local election. Come May 2012 the groundswell might be a torrent. Then you’ll not have enough LibDems in chambers to lead the Council, let alone provide your own opposition.What was it that John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902)said about power corrupting?  

    “And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    Never has this been more true of EBC than now..!!

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