Broadcast our meetings when we can afford it
November 8, 2012 1 Comment
One of the unfortunate things about being elected as a councillor in an age of austerity is that I am forced to be a participant, albeit a reluctant one, in some quite drastic cuts. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will be faced with a number of years of cuts, and this year it could be as deep as 10%.
I do not like the cuts and will be doing by best to avoid as many as possible. Despite my wishes that it were otherwise, we will be having cuts. There is a bitter irony in the treasurer of Southend Against The Cuts playing a part in this – I can only assure people that I will be kicking and fighting against as many cuts as I can.
Faced with potentially deep and damaging cuts one thing is certain – new spend, if any are mooted, must be on essential services. I cannot and will not support frivolous expenditure when, for instance, spending on the elderly and those with learning difficulties is under extreme pressure.
This is the reason why I kicked back against the suggestion of a Council tea – how could I swallow a mouthful knowing that my local library may face closure? I am not being alarmist – all sorts of possibilities are being considered. One way or another the budget will have to balance.
I am for opening up our democracy, and in principle support the idea of broadcasting council meetings over the internet. Now is the not the time to consider this, though, not when all sorts of services either face cuts, hikes in prices, or scrapping altogether.
If the council tax goes up will those paying more be grateful for the webcasting of our meetings? When the inevitable P45s go around the Civic Centre next year will the newly workless be equally grateful?
By all means agree in principle to the broadcasting of our meetings, but please defer the implementation until austerity ends.