Conservative Melt Down
Conservative Councillors listened in stunned silence at the meeting of New Forest District Council as the Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group, Councillor David Harrison, delivered an amazing speech, filled with humour, insight and damning condemnation of the way the Council has been run.
Councillor Harrison seized the opportunity of the Annual budget speech to remind the Tory group of the stunningly poor performance of the authority, including having one of the worst recycling rates in the country, complete failure to address the issue of affordable housing, opportunities lost to achieve savings or boost income and unwillingness to lobby for greater levels of community policing.
The campaigning Councillor told Tory Cabinet members that they had been sluggish when it comes to taking opportunities including ones he had provided them with, a reduction n Councillor numbers which would have saved £400,000 and a Voluntary additional council tax payment from wealthy residents which would have likely brought in an additional £400,000.
With reference to recent defections from the Conservative party, Cllr. Harrison invited them to have a chat and a coffee with him, should be thinking of following suit.
The response from Conservative side was feeble and somewhat muted.
One or two Tory members claimed that they couldn’t lobby for more resources, suggesting that they were content not to have any say over police matters.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Harrison says, “This was my fourth and probably my most effective budget speech.
It says something that their strongest attack on me was that I was being consistent in my arguments from year to year.”
“I think a lot of the Conservative group have become disillusioned and fed up with having no real say in what happens.
Many of them won’t even be standing again when it comes to the elections in May.
Hopefully, voters will agree that the authority needs some fresh new faces and new ideas.
I look forward to releasing details of our manifesto for the elections very shortly”.