Local Liberal Democrat councillors have become increasingly concerned about the use of money paid to the Council for the benefit of local communities. The council receives money when a development takes place to fund essential local community requirements such as roads, schools and libraries. Frustration with lack of information about this money led to Lib Dem questions at last night’s Wokingham Borough Council meeting.
Cllr Dee Tomlin (Twyford Ward) is angry “I was horrified to discover that in just the small part of the Borough we asked about, there is £1M sitting in the coffers doing nothing. How can this have happened? Our communities are crying out for things like a library in Twyford and public toilets in Woodley. The Conservatives are always using the excuse that they haven’t got any money and yet here we have £1million that could have been used and hasn’t been. That’s £1million in five council wards. There are 25 wards in the Borough altogether so the Conservatives could be holding onto as much as £5million in total that is meant to be used to benefit our communities.”
Cllr Tom McCann (Loddon Ward) said “This is information that should be available to the public and at the moment it is not. There are things that our communities clearly need and it is only because the Lib Dems have demanded answers that the public can now see there is money to pay for some of them. And it’s just not good enough that the Conservatives have been sitting on the money for so long. The Liberal Democrats will continue to push on this issue and we won’t let the Conservatives off the hook.”
Liberal Democrats last night successfully urged the Council to keep a focus on helping create local Apprenticeships.
Cllr Lesley Hayward (Bulmershe & Whitegates ward) [pictured] acknowledged the good work done both nationally and locally but added “We can do more. The council is embarking on a number of projects which could give rise to opportunities for apprenticeships – and for other training. And we need to use our influence to make sure those opportunities for young people do get created.”
Cllr Prue Bray (Winnersh Ward) noted that “There is one local authority area in the country, and only one, where there has been a fall in the number of apprenticeships since the coalition government started. It’s a small drop of 8%, but still a fall. Unfortunately that area was Wokingham.”
Local Lib Dem councillors believe we must redouble our efforts and commit the council to do the best it can for our young people.
Opposition Group leader Prue Bray receiving the award from Nick Clegg
Wokingham Borough Council’s Liberal Democrat Group of Councillors is celebrating a Local Government Association award for Liberal Democrat ‘Opposition Group of the Year Joint Winner 2013’. It was presented to the group Leader Cllr Prue Bray at the Liberal Democrat Federal Conference in Brighton on 8th March by Nick Clegg.
Prue said “I am delighted that our work as an effective opposition group has been recognised. We have held the Conservatives to account over the problems with their new waste collection service, forced the Conservatives into a U turn over plans to hand the library service over to a private company and campaigned against the secrecy and risk involved in the three council-owned limited companies set up by the Conservatives – and we will continue to work just as hard in the coming year.”