Labour controlled DCC recently issued a press release (20th May) that was full of blatant inaccuracies and misleading statements designed to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. In what was one of the biggest changes to the constitution in decades at last week’s full council meeting, issued to members to consider just two hours before it; they took away the right of councillors to ask questions of cabinet members. This from the group that said in the run up to the election they would make the council more transparent - not less.
Labour has reneged on one of its key pledges at its first meeting, whilst simultaneously silencing the leader of the opposition who wanted to ask a question about the sudden and extraordinary departure of the Chief Executive.
Labour Cabinet members not only lessened their responsibilities by not having to face unprompted questions in council they spread their responsibilities to deputy Cabinet members too and sensationally gave themselves pay rises in the teeth of the authority having to make £127m worth of savings and the prospect of job losses to come for staff.
In a remarkable affront to the intelligence of the Derbyshire public Labour claimed that this pay rise would actually cost the public less money because of the changes they had made to the civic roles, in particular not replacing the civic cars. The civic cars were in fact due to be changed in 2009 when the Conservatives stopped that process then.
The cost of creating a new scrutiny committee with responsibilities already addressed by the existing structures will also add a further burden on the taxpayer. This is a blatant attempt by Labour to mislead the public to justify the spending of County Council resources funded by taxpayers to line their own pockets. And, remarkably, the Cabinet have done it whilst at the same time making their own jobs easier. Had we proposed such outrageous changes four years ago the Labour group would certainly have howled down the corridors of County Hall.