Speech delivered to the full Council meeting on 22nd November 2007
Thank you, Madam Mayor.
First, Post Office Closures...
We in my ward have been through this ourselves in recent years, most notably the closure of the Post Office counter at the corner of pattens Lane and City Way a few years ago. We realised then just how difficult it would be for elderly folk to climb the hills in the area in order to reach another Post Office counter, so we personally ferried some of them to and from another branch once a week, typically on Pension Day.
This programme of closures is unhelpful in the extreme to our communities, and could have been handled so much better, so that closures would be unnecessary, Madam Mayor.
Next, the half-price 'bus fares scheme...
It is good to see such a worthwhile scheme coming to fruition, Madam Mayor, especially as the funding for launching this was built into this Administration's budget for the current year.
It is, however, shameful that no opposition member supported that budget, Madam Mayor, some not voting at all and the rest voting against our budget. It wasn't as if any of them had even bothered to put forward any alternative proposals—at least one group did make that effort a few years ago, but hasn't taken the trouble since. One wonders what some of them do to justify their allowances, Madam Mayor!
Lastly, the furniture for the new Civic Headquarters call-in to Business Support Scrutiny....
It is a pity that Councillor Juby is not here tonight, Madam Mayor, so that I could publicly tell him off for delaying the acquisition of the new furniture for Gun Wharf, via his spurious call-in of this to Scrutiny. I just hope that the furniture will still be able to be delivered in time for our staff's move. I do wish that opposition members would not use this procedure purely for their own political ends, Madam Mayor! This was a clear-cut case of this, as all questions on this matter were answered within the Task Group on this topic, which includes a LibDem member.
Thank you very much, Madam Mayor.
John M Ward (Councillor, Rochester South and Horsted)