After the deputation from Howbury Friends at Wednesday’s council meeting the mayor allowed questions. As she had rejected every single one from members of the public lacking political affiliations and those from Conservative party candidates are designed only to win favour with cabinet members, I do not intend to give ‘public’ questions further air time. Instead I’ll launch straight into councillors’ questions. The first came from councillor Brenda Langstead (Labour Party) to cabinet member Linda Bailey (Nasty Party).
“Could the cabinet member live on the minimum wage?” Biffa replied “I live within my means” to widespread groans from the public gallery. Councillor Langstead then asked Biffa if she would care to join her and councillor Chris Ball in making such an attempt. Four seconds later Brenda got her answer. “No.”
Councillor Borella asked cabinet member Don Massey how many Slade Green residents are excited by his preferred Howbury bidder. Donald didn’t know but said they had “every reason to be excited”. Stefano said that was not the feedback he was getting and went on to ask how a rejection of a local volunteer group fitted in with Localism. “It is not decided yet” Massey said; “but the panel felt that in three out of five sections the Eco Communities bid was superior”.
After councillor Peter Craske provided his leader with an opportunity to taunt councillor Munir Malik, councillor Melvin Seymour asked for “an update” on the proposal to relocate local historical services to Bromley. Cabinet member Don Massey said no decision had been made but it was not a statutorily required service. He proposed that more of the services be provided on line in future. Councillor Maggie O’Neill asked if anyone had considering moving Bromley’s services to Bexley but Massey told her he “does not believe Bromley are into that. It is not on the table”.
The mayor then announced that the 19 minutes (four stolen from the public questions session) she had allowed for councillor’s questions had elapsed, so the remaining 25 went unheard. It would have been interesting to know how paying three years’ worth of senior staff pension contributions up front (Munir Malik’s question) at a time when the council has a £38 million black hole will benefit residents, but sadly we will probably never know.