August 1, 2011 8:01 AM
  • New Labour council adopts Tony Blair-style "sofa government"
  • Scrutiny, transparency and accountability fall victim to new regime
  • Your local neighbourhood priorities torn up as power is centralised again

When the Lib Dems ran the council between 2004-2011, we made a huge effort to open up the governance of the city and push decision making down to the local level.

Since Labour took control of the council in May they have at a stroke reversed much of this good work. The cabinet running the council has been cut to just 5 cronies of the new Leader who are now able to make decisions behind closed doors. Only a select few senior council officers are allowed to raise issues with this inner circle - the rest are banned from even talking to them!

Meanwhile the scrutiny panels that allow backbench councillors of all parties to hold the administration to account have been slashed from 8 to 3.

"All of this is allegedly to speed up decision making" commented local Lib Dem Councillor Stephen Psallidas "but it appears the real motive is to concentrate power in the hands of a few. We believe that the residents of this great city deserve more from their elected representatives."

Local Charters Torn Up

For the last year or so, we have been consulting local residents on a local charter summarising local priorities in our area such as student housing, parking and the state of the back lanes. The Labour administration has simply torn up all this hard work deeming it to be "too bureaucratic" - even though the hard work was complete.

Cllr Gareth Kane commented "Again, doing things right has been sacrificed in the name of doing things quickly, but we think it is just a naked power grab, pulling everything back to the Civic Centre. Nowhere in Labour's election literature did they propose any of these changes - it's really dodgy!"