CBC Cabinet Titbits

Things that we now know following the CBC Cabinet meeting this evening.

Sir Bob of Sunny Colch is in the Building

That will be the High Steward of Colchester to you, sonny.

But yeah – yer man was sitting in the public gallery, looking refreshed and fighting fit.

The politically objective High Steward wanted to Have His Say. More of that to come…

The Colchester People’s Assembly Protested

We will tread carefully here…

The fine folk from the Sunny Colch PA were outside the Town Hall once again, protesting against the cuts made earlier in Gideon’s Autumn Spending Review.

But wait! What’s this?

Gideon may have brushed away the bloody awful tax credits, plus abandoned the planned policing cuts – but #localgov was shat upon by the Chancellor once again.

It remains to be seen what the final settlement will be for CBC.

And so good on the Colchester People’s Assembly for having a presence outside the Town Hall, even if Gideon wasn’t there.

Oh – and good on Labour’s Cllr Tim Young and Cllr Tina Bourne for also joining the protest ahead of… taking a seat at the top table.

They may have ‘robustly’ backed the anti-austerity Leadership candidate – and then some – but the straight talking, honest politics of Mr Corbyn means that we are all socialist Comrades now.

Doesn’t it?

The Essex Building Control – it’s SEXY

Apparently.

So much so that LibDem Cllr Bill Frame made the point of bigging it up as an Urgent Item that became bumped to the top of the agenda.

The only problem was that the SEXY Essex Building Control deal that CBC had apparently just scooped wasn’t for the Little People to hear.

Which meant that it was discussed behind closed doors when the public and press had been booted out.

Sometimes SEXY things can be such a damp squid.

No one pronounces Cawlchesterrr quite like Sir Bob

That will be the High Steward of Colchester to you, sonny, etc.

But yep – it was good to hear Sir Bob’s voice once again.

We’re not sure if all of the Cabinet with no Mandate sitting around the top table felt the same.

Of concern to the ‘politically neutral’ High Steward was the proposal for CBC to gift an extra £100k to our friends from Firstsite.

Yeah yeah – we’ve been down this tardy old route before. CBC has a surplus for the current financial year. It is basically looking for good causes in which to support.

The Firstsite one off payment match funds a similar contribution from the Tories over in Chelmsford. The actual annual CBC grant to Firstsite is being CUT by 15%.

But this wasn’t good enough for Sir Bob.

He asked instead for £100k to be be awarded to Age UK to help out in Colchester.

With ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICAl AXE TO GRIND, Cllr Tim Young was as sharp with his semantics as he is with his cut of suit.

The straight talking, honest politics Comrade pointed out to the High Steward that he called for dosh for Age UK, but crucially didn’t ask for the Firstsite extra funding to be scrapped.

Clever.

We think.

Colchester Welcomes Refugees is a growing movement

The next Have Your Say item was a double act between two of the leading figures who have been helping to mobilise to welcome the five Syrian refugee families to our town.

The call went out to increase this number to 50 refugees in total, plus to ask Cabinet how it could help, what other Essex local authorities can do and what Colchester can do to make the families feel welcome.

Cllr Bourne took the lead for the Cabinet, suggesting a Go Fund page to be set up.

The advice on how other Essex Councils could help had a little less clarity.

Cllr Mark Cory had a busy Cabinet meeting

Cabinet then became something of the Mark Cory Show. The Cabinet member for Finance led on 2016/17 Revenue Budget, Fees & Charges, Capital Programme & Financial Reserves.

Sadly some of our well-researched blog post observations were overlooked.

We had hoped that the webcast of a chapel service (not guaranteed to be broadcast live) and £1,040 fee for a sex shop licence would make a Cabinet appearance.

Instead Cllr Cory highlighted some very valid spending causes such as the Colchester Heritage Day and the Light and Shade Festival that took place outside the Town Hall.

Plus the freezing of Council Tax for the sixth year in a row was also referenced (although this move is more about not triggering a borough wide referendum…)

Which then led nicely to…

Local Council Tax Support 2016/17 – don’t mention the benefit tourists

Thankfully Conservative Cllr Dennis Willetts didn’t this time – but he did repeat the local Tory party policy of excluding anyone who hasn’t lived in the borough for more than three years from receiving Council Tax support.

Oh dear.

The return of the Nasty Party to Sunny Colch was a gift for the LibLab lot. Cllr Dominic Graham astutely made the connection between the warmth of the Colchester Welcomes Refugees, and the call to stop ‘benefit tourists’ in all but name.

Show us the money, aka Officer Pay Policy

Cllr Cory kept the mic as he pushed through the pay policy for CBC staff for the next year.

A lame attempt was made to politicise this, quoting the difference between the Living Wage and the Tory’s proposed National Living Wage.

But it was a good point, and one well made.

And so we will let it pass.

Mayoralties have become a MESSY business at CBC

Just when we thought that the political spat between Labour and the LibDems (and a certain historical event in the chamber that legally we apparently aren’t allowed to blog about) was over – here we go again…

Oh Lordy.

With a LibDem Mayor in Cllr Higgins currently wearing the CBC bling, and a Labour Deputy in Cllr J Young all robed up and waiting, the traditional route would be for a Tory deputy for the new Civic year.

Actually – does anyone really give a stuff? It’s a bloody ceremonial role with a few freebie luncheons thrown in.

Cllr Willetts stepped forward to propose his fellow Conservative Cllr Peter Chillingworth.

But wait! What’s this?

The LibLabIndie Cabinet with no Mandate however put forward the name of Highwoods Indie Cllr Gerrard Oxford.

For the record: this has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the way that the four [count ’em – FOUR] Highwoods Indies so bravely stepped forward back in May to allow the LibLab lot be propped up and form a new administration – despite the Tories having more Cllr’s.

Nope.

Not here.

Phew.

Glad we have cleared that one up.

The little local difficulty was resolved when LD Cllr Paul Smith asked the apolitical Monitoring Officer to confirm who had more years service as a Cllr.

And whaddya know: it was the Highwoods Indie fella.

And that was pretty much yer lot.

We got booted out, just ahead of the PARTY to celebrate the Essex Building Control contract (which we weren’t allowed to listen to – so we aren’t gonna bloody blog about it.)

But it was nice seeing Sir Bob once again.

All rise.

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