Home ... The Council ... CCC ... £20k down a small hole

Just to quickly refresh your memory, dear reader, we are living in times of budget cuts and belt-tightening. There has been widespread local coverage of Canterbury City Council slashing, cutting, trimming and salami slicing. In the expectation that their central funding will be reduced, CCC has been wielding the knife on all but the biggest projects. It came as an unwelcome surprise to me that CCC was proposing to make a £20,000 "contribution to hospitality for the Open Golf Tournament at Sandwich".

£20k down a small hole

Just to quickly refresh your memory, dear reader, we are living in times of budget cuts and belt-tightening. There has been widespread local coverage of Canterbury City Council slashing, cutting, trimming and salami slicing. In the expectation that their central funding will be reduced, CCC has been wielding the knife on all but the biggest projects.

It came as an unwelcome surprise to me that CCC was proposing to make a £20,000 “contribution to hospitality for the Open Golf Tournament at Sandwich“. (For the benefit of our international readers, the town of Sandwich has its own Town Council, and falls within the realm of Dover District Council. In terms of the semi-feudal world of local government funding, it is completely separate from Canterbury City Council: only 12 miles from Canterbury, but it may as well be in France.)

The clearest explanation of the rationale behind the outlay that I’ve been able to find comes from the Council Leader, Cllr Gilbey:

The Leader said that the £20,000 contribution for The Open golf tournament in 2011 was not a grant and that it never had been. He indicated that, like the situation for the 2012 Olympics in London, the whole of the district would benefit from the event and that we would expect every hotel in the district to be fully booked. The Leader emphasised that the £20,000 was available, if required, for the council to take full advantage of the event. He pointed out that it would be used for things like promotions to make sure we achieved the maximum benefit for the businesses, homes and people of the District, as we did when The Open golf tournament last came to Kent.

Schmoozing in the posh seats, by the sounds of it. News of this £20k-worth of largesse has been widely met with incredulity and anger, and unsurprisingly it came up in the recent budget “debate” in the form of a don’t-be-evil-be-good ambush from the LibDems:

It was proposed by Councillor A Perkins and seconded by Councillor Dixey that the council cancel the £20,000 contribution to the Open Golf at Sandwich and use that money to reinstate £20,000 of the funding withdrawn from Age Concern and Northgate Over 60’s. (Revenue neutral).

The foregoing amendment was declared LOST. I’m not particularly surprised, but I am thoroughly disgusted. As luck would have it, this was one of the shamefully rare occasions when the vote was actually recorded, so we (the paying punters) get to find out who did what:

For the amendment:
Councillors Berridge, Bright, Calvert-Mindell, Dixey, Dye, M Flaherty, R Flaherty, Flanagan, Hando, Linfield, MacCaul, Matthews, Parsons, A Perkins, Staley, Vickers, Vye and Wratten (18)

Against the amendment:
Councillors Anderson, Austin, Bissett, Davis, Doyle, Ellis, Fisher, Gilbey, Harrison, Mrs Law, Lee, McCabe, McMahan, Patterson, J Perkins, Pickersgill, Samper, Sharp, Sonnex, A Taylor, H Taylor, Thomas, Todd, Vickery-Jones and Windsor (25)

Abstained from voting:
Councillors Cragg and Reuby (2)

Absent from the meeting:
Councillors Carnell, Eden-Green, Parry, Seath and Steed (5)

You may want to ask any or all of those who voted against the motion why they did as they did, or you may want to share an opinion with them. Here’s a who’s who and where and how:

Anderson Conservative, North Nailbourne, john.anderson@canterbury.gov.uk
Austin Conservative, Sturry North, tony.austin@canterbury.gov.uk
Bissett Conservative, Herne and Broomfield, evelyn.bissett@canterbury.gov.uk
Davis Conservative, Reculver, gabrielle.davis@canterbury.gov.uk
Doyle Conservative, Chartham and Stone Street, rosemary.doyle@canterbury.gov.uk
Ellis Conservative, Northgate, darren.ellis@canterbury.gov.uk
Fisher Conservative, Tankerton, martin.fisher@canterbury.gov.uk
Gilbey Conservative, Blean Forest, john.gilbey@canterbury.gov.uk
Harrison Conservative, Tankerton, jeanne.harrison@canterbury.gov.uk
Mrs Law Conservative, Seasalter, jean.law@canterbury.gov.uk
Lee Conservative, West Bay, peter.lee@canterbury.gov.uk
McCabe Conservative, Blean Forest, hazel.mccabe@canterbury.gov.uk
McMahan Conservative, West Bay, vincent.mcmahan@canterbury.gov.uk
Patterson Conservative, Chartham and Stone Street, mike.patterson@canterbury.gov.uk
J Perkins Conservative, Gorrell, jackie.perkins@canterbury.gov.uk
Pickersgill Conservative, Northgate, sally.pickersgill@canterbury.gov.uk
Samper Conservative, Chestfield and Swalecliffe, jenny.samper@canterbury.gov.uk
Sharp Conservative, Seasalter, mike.sharp@canterbury.gov.uk
Sonnex Conservative, Herne and Broomfield, sharron.sonnex@canterbury.gov.uk
A Taylor Conservative, Reculver, ann.taylor@canterbury.gov.uk
H Taylor Conservative, Sturry South, heather.taylor@canterbury.gov.uk
Thomas Conservative, Chestfield and Swalecliffe, ian.thomas@canterbury.gov.uk
Todd Conservative, Chestfield and Swalecliffe, pat.todd@canterbury.gov.uk
Vickery-Jones Conservative, Herne and Broomfield, peter.vickeryjones@canterbury.gov.uk
Windsor Conservative, Seasalter, cyril.windsor@canterbury.gov.uk

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