Greens welcome new scheme to help disabled or chronically ill councillors in Burnley
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The scheme will allow councillors with disabilities or long-term health conditions to nominate a substitute to represent them at committee meetings if they cannot attend themselves for health reasons.
It was agreed at the Full Council meeting in September.Green Party councillor, Martyn Hurt, who suffers from a progressive neurological disorder, said: "I'm pleased that this scheme has finally been approved as it will help give anyone who is disabled or has a long-term health condition the confidence to become a councillor in Burnley without the fear that their health will mean that they cannot fully take part in all aspects of the role, or that missing meetings due to their health will be used against them by other political parties.”
Coun. Scott Cunliffe, leader of Burnley Greens, added that the original plan was to try and allow substitutes for any councillor, as many have caring responsibilities, young families, work shift patterns and so on.
"Burnley Council was in the minority as 11 of the 15 council's in Lancashire allow substitutes of some kind, and we believe that allowing substitutes for all would allow a more diverse range of people to become councillors, but Labour, the Lib Dems and Tories were dead set against that, so Martyn was forced to take action under discrimination laws. Unless we only want healthy, well-off or retired councillors, Burnley Council has to change and be more flexible.
"Not everyone can spend their evenings in the Council Chamber of meeting rooms."