PET grips county as politicians clash
SUFFOLK: County members had one eye on the general election as two politically-charged motions were debated at the full council meeting.
Opposition leader Kathy Pollard summed up the mood in the edgy chamber: “I think many of us are suffering from PET,” she said. “Pre-Election Tension seems to have broken out,” at which point members across the chamber burst into laughter.
Cabinet member for adult care Colin Noble had tabled a motion critical of the government’s decision to announce free home care for elderly people.
Meanwhile Labour leader Sandy Martin proposed that the county should negotiate a pay rise for council staff on the lowest salaries.
Mr Noble said the Prime Minister had made the announcement about free health care to the Labour Party conference last year with no consultation with councils who would have to administer it and no idea of the actual cost of the scheme.
He said: “The government is talking about funding it to about �6.4 million, but our officers have looked at the likely cost and think it will come out at about �14 million.”
Labour’s Bryony Rudkin said the costs of the proposal were not clear, but the government had promised to help fund scheme.
- 1 Long delays on A14 near Ipswich after police called to hole in the road
- 2 Ipswich residents' frustration over parking chaos
- 3 'Severe' delays on A12 outside Ipswich after crash closes road
- 4 Suffolk's top 10 fish and chip shops as voted by our readers - now pick a winner
- 5 Girl, 15, followed by man while walking dog in village near Ipswich
- 6 Tree works to begin after residents left 'fed up' for two years
- 7 Man detained after early morning incident in Ipswich road
- 8 BT applies to install eight Street Hubs in Ipswich
- 9 Warehousing units take shape at Ipswich as demand rockets
- 10 Firefighters called to Ipswich house fire
During the debate on low wages at the county, Mr Martin said about 2,000 staff at the county earned just �6.29 an hour – an annual wage of about �12,000. Their wages had been frozen while inflation was now running at almost three per cent.
He said: “We know things are tight for the council, but all we are saying is that there should be meaningful negotiations with people who are on low wages and facing a 2.9per cent pay cut in real terms.”
Council deputy leader Jane Storey said the council had very dedicated staff – and they appreciated that the sharp recession meant it was necessary to make sacrifices at this time.
Mrs Pollard said it was refreshing to hear real political debate – even though the participants had one eye on the election.
Her party had sympathy with both other groups in relation to their arguments - and abstained on the votes.
The Conservative administration won both votes comfortably.