The City Council’s Liberal Democrats are hugely disappointed to see a motion that they put to the City Council’s Full Council meeting to give greater powers and responsibilities to Council’s newly created Local Area Committees (LACs) be voted down by Labour and Green Councillors.
The motion came to the Council on Thursday 18th November at a vital stage of the negotiations on how the Council will run after May 2022.
Councillor Andrew Sangar who is the Chair of one of the new LACs and who proposed the motion said; “It's very sad to see Labour and the Greens amend our motion so that it instead simply gave themselves a pat on the back for how they are doing with the reorganisation. If anything, they called for powers to be more centralised rather than shared out to the LAC’s which work in their communities.”
“We are concerned that the LACs have been given relatively limited powers and budgets to spend on the priorities of residents. We were simply asking that as part of its current reorganisation the Council should investigate and explore opportunities that would enable more decision-making powers to be devolved to the LACs. This needs to be done now, so that as the new system takes shape it’s clearer which decisions are taken by the central Council, and which are taken in local areas; frankly its very unlikely that powers will be moved outwards later.”
Councillor Simon Clement-Jones, who is also a LAC chair agreed, stating; “Amongst those services where decision making powers could be more devolved to the LACs are libraries, parks and fly-tipping. This would give people a real say in some of the local issues they care most about, but it appears Labour and the Greens prefer to keep powers centralised, which we believe goes against the spirt of moving to the Councils new committee system.”
“We think people want to be able to have a say in the running of their City, something that is only improved by allowing the LACs to decide on a wide range of issues as the LACs are held in the communities they represent and are made up of people who know the issues and opportunities of the areas they represent intimately.”