Across the borough there are protests. Libraries, parks, children’s
playgrounds, open spaces and refuse collections have all been under threat. Grass is
to be left uncut, roads unswept and street lights extinguished. The protests are
necessary but doomed to failure. If services are not cut, Bexley goes bust.
Freezing council tax was the Conservative’s election winning strategy to ensure
their gravy train kept running, now they have run out of money and are
constrained by the government’s 2% or a referendum tax cap.
This paragraph from last week’s budget setting council meeting sums up the situation.
Any course other than the one already chosen leads to disaster. As councillor Colin Tandy said last week, “the splash park has got to close”. How many times does it have to be said that minds were made up months ago. The consultation process is a nothing but a money wasting sham.
After councillor Borella (Labour) had made his opposition statement, Chris Beazley (UKIP) dropped his little bomb on councillors’ wallets. His near million pound saving (an allowance cut of a third for three years) soundly rejected by the parasites opposite but not before a few councillors had opened their mouths before the engagement of any brain they may have.
The Labour party’s finance spokesman Daniel Francis wanted to know “what were the sums involved” and it is surprising that he didn't know that councillors pocket just over £900,000 a year and wasn’t able to divide that sum by three.
The council’s favourite strippagram girl, Sharon Massey, complained that a pay reduction might run foul of the minimum wage laws. A pity that she is unconcerned about the care workers employed by Bexley’s agencies on illegal pay rates, especially when she and her husband Don Massey are directors of such an agency.
The mayor in a rare moment of eptitude sought a seconder for the amendment. He found one in UKIP councillor Lynn Smith. The chairman mayor then relinquished control of the meeting by asking stand-in leader Gareth Bacon what he wanted to do next. He said he wanted a debate and a vote.
Councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) interjected again that he “needed to know the amounts involved”, division by three and multiplying the result by three again apparently beyond him.
Councillor Gareth Bacon, grasping at straws, decided to agree with councillor Francis. He too was unable to put a figure on the savings up for grabs.
Councillor Beazley helpfully provided a list of the reductions applying to each councillor but the mayor complained that he was unable to add it up. Chris helped him out. “Approximately £900,00 over three years” he said; a figure which as a mere observer I knew as soon as the subject was aired. How stupid do you have to be to be a councillor in Bexley?
Councillor Borella (Labour, North End) said that it wasn’t possible to sign off an amendment without an accurate figure. For goodness sake, hadn’t any of them got a calculator in their pocket?
In case anyone did, Gareth Bacon called for a quick vote, the thought of taking home only a five figure salary instead of six was just too much to bear.
All the Tories voted to line their pockets with as much gold as possible, the three UKIP members were content to serve the public, paid or not, and Labour could not make up their mind and abstained.
So Bexley taxpayers will shell out getting on for a million pounds because no Bexley councillor is any good at simple arithmetic and the Tories are universally greedy whip fodder; and this bunch of thickos was supposed to be debating a £100 million pound budget. God help us.