The Budget setting full council meeting at West Lancashire Borough Council rapidly became chaotic when Councillor Adrian Owens, Leader of the new Our West Lancashire party, who held the voting balance, refused to vote with either of the evenly held Conservative and Labour parties when they presented their Budget for 2015/16.
Councillor Owens who had several amendments to ensure savings were made in this year, had previously asked the Leaders of both Parties to meet with him to discuss these – they included savings on Members allowances, extra free parking for residents, establishing new apprenticeships and graduate traineeships and a reduction in staffing costs of senior management- but both “Goliath” parties refused to listen to his proposals and discuss the matters ahead of the meeting.
This impasse resulted in recesses lasting a total of nearly an hour whilst the Parties re discussed their Budget plans. The two main parties returned with some slight amendments (none of which included Councillor Owens’ proposals) and both parties moved new Budget proposals which were then accepted.
Further in the Budget proposals Labour’s Housing Budget was passed as two Conservative councillors had gone home!!
Our West Lancashire – which will be fielding candidates in the May elections – believe that their new, innovative Budget proposals would have seriously benefited residents in West Lancashire. It believes that continued campaigning on the issues and the savings proposed on the night are crucial to protecting jobs and services and improving the culture of the council and Our West Lancashire will continue to campaign for these to be brought forward by the Council in the near future.