Councillor uses plain English: ‘Cabinet should resign’

Coun Doug Best
Coun Doug Best
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THE cabinet at South Holland District Council has come under fire from fellow councillors who branded members “supercilious” and called for their resignations.

The disquiet came at a joint meeting of the Performance Monitoring and Policy Development panels on Tuesday, at which members were considering cost-cutting recommendations for the cabinet to look at while setting the budget.

At a previous meeting, members of the joint panel had been given the chance to question the cabinet over financial issues in order to make suitable recommendations.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, Coun Doug Best said: “The previous meeting was unsatisfactory in two ways.

“Firstly, there was not enough information available to this authority from central Government about what they are going to do. That’s pretty poor when you are trying to do a budget.

“Secondly, the portfolio holders were determined to bat the questions to one side in a supercilious way.

“The language used in these documents makes very little sense in many respects.

“One suggestion, apart from the whole of the cabinet resigning, is that henceforth all documents be written in simple English.”

Referring to one particular question (“With regard to resourcing and providing services, what would happen if wrong decisions were made?”), Coun Chris Brewis said: “I couldn’t believe the sheer effrontery of many of the answers.

“Coun Paul Przyszlak should be ashamed of an answer like that (the electorate would show their disapproval). If I had been sitting through those answers I would have got up and walked out.”

Coun Brewis suggested reducing the number of people in the cabinet to save money.

He said: “Now we have had all these mergers do we need such a big cabinet? If we do that it will save £10,000 immediately.”

Coun Steve Williams suggested one way of cutting costs would be to review the Spalding Special Expenses account.

He said: “It’s a mess. It’s neither fish nor fowl.

“There is a group of Spalding councillors who can make recommendations and then officers spend money over our heads.

“I am totally dissatisfied about how this has been going on for years.”

Coun Stamford Marthews agreed, saying: “It’s demeaning to Spalding that its finances should be handled in this cack-handed way.”

l Last month the Government revealed it will cut the amount of funding given to the district council by more than a fifth – leaving the authority to find £1.4m in savings.

The cash the council receives from the Government will fall from £9.2m for this year to £7.3m.

The joint panels also suggested reviewing the £2m spent annually on keeping up the standard of council housing.