This afternoon the apparently accident prone Political Assistant to the Labour Group, Andrew Jones, sent out a Labour group press release to all councillors and a number of senior council officers in error. It railed about the Conservative opposition calling in the latest stage of the schools’ building programme. Along with quotes from Labour MPs Sharma and Pound the story essentially accuses the Tories of endangering the programme. This is tosh.
The episode does show just how slow-moving the Labour group are. The Overview and Scrutiny meeting they refer to happened last week on 4th November. The press release is dated 8th November but only got circulated at close of business today, the 9th, some three working days later. In the loop this is not. This demonstrates just how cumbersome the Labour decision making process is.
In the press release Cllr Bell said:
The Labour administration has been fighting since May to secure investment in our schools and it has been akin to getting blood from a stone. The borough desperately needs investment to secure enough school places for our growing population. The governmentâ€™s cuts have made this incredibly difficult, as the programme they have left us with is nowhere near big enough to deliver the places we need.
We were made to suffer years of neglect the last time the Conservatives were in government and this time we were almost made to suffer just so the Conservatives could say something for a press release.
It is galling that the local Conservatives are imperilling this project after Conservative Secretary of State has taken almost all of our money for new schools. The Conservatives have done enough damage to our local schools in the few months that they have been in government …
Sorry boys, but these are Darlingâ€™s cuts.