Along with a number of new councillors at last week’s first Burnley Council meeting of the municipal year we were faced with making our first big decision.
Hidden in a complex financial report on capital finance was the bombshell that home repairs assistance grants were to be withdrawn.
These grants are provided to owner occupiers whose homes require essential repairs, usually relating to severe health and safety issues, where they have no means of carrying out the repairs themselves. They are especially important for the elderly and disabled as well as other vulnerable groups in the community.
Labour asked for the report to be withdrawn to allow members time to review priorities and alternatives that could be afforded to allow these essential grants to continue. The Lib-Dems supported by the Conservatives ignored the request and voted the cuts through.
What was especially annoying was the arguments put forward supporting the cut by the new Executive member for housing, Coun. Roger Frost, who made an extraordinary statement. He made it clear these were plans formulated by his predecessor Martin Smith who he said had done a wonderful job in the regeneration portfolio.
This is the same Martin Smith who was rejected by the electorate in Lanehead on May 5th, losing his seat on the council. Any reasonable council would take a message from this rejection of the portfolio holder and think again, but not this Lib-Dem Executive who are carrying on regardless of what happened on May 5th. The faces on the Executive may have changed but the failure to listen continues.
COUN. MARK TOWNSEND
TODMORDEN ROAD, COCKDEN