Thursday, September 11, 2008

Full Council Meeting Tonight

Tonight is a meeting of 'Full Council', one of about 6 occasions each year when all Councillors get together to decide on the important issues facing the Council.

Except it doesn't really work like that, as the Liberal Democrat's have a clear majority, decide everything in their group meeting beforehand, and most of their backbenchers just sit there and stick their hand up at the right time to pass their group policies. I can't remember last time I heard any element of scrutiny or dissent from the Lib Dems in one of these meetings - if a Lib Dem disagrees with the ruling executive Councillors, it tends to end up with them leaving the Council (like former City Cllrs Schofield, Adigun-Harris, Griffiths and of course there is also former Lib Dem Cllr Hipkin, now an independent).

Whilst this can make the meeting a bit of a pantomime, it does allow opposition groups to participate in debate on key issues facing the Council. Topics for discussion tonight include:

The Council's medium term (financial) strategy - including the impact of Gordon Brown's £1.3m 'Cambridge Tax', and how the Lib Dems plan to put up Council Tax by 4.5% each year regardless of the effect on hard pressed household budgets.

The Council's Climate change strategy and action plan

A discussion of how much allowances Councillors are going to pay themselves.

A request by Labour for a review of scrutiny arrangements (or rather the lack of scrutiny arrangements) at the City Council.

An attack by the Lib Dems on my stance on planning decisions at area committees.

The full agenda for tonights meeting is here - members of the public are welcome to turn up at the Guildhall and see their elected representatives in action, the meeting starts at 6pm, and will go on for hours...

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