NEWS RELEASE FROM NORTHUMBERLAND LABOUR GROUP
EXTRAORDINARY MEETING BILL SKYROCKETS TO ‘£80K’
TORIES ACCUSED OF ‘PLAYING POLITICS ON THE RATES’
Labour group and council leader Grant Davey has spoken today of his shock as accountants in the council have revealed the true cost of Friday’s extraordinary meeting has skyrocketed to £80k.
The shock figure comes as Tory group leader Peter Jackson has come under renewed pressure as it emerged that he received independent officer advice from officers in the council advising him that his motion ‘may be unlawful’ and that the extraordinary meeting could not overturn the decision of the council’s Policy Board.
Labour have highlighted the role of Councillor Jackson and Anne Marie Trevelyan in an email sent to parents at the Duchess of Alnwick High School which drummed up support for a petition supported by the Conservative group leader and the Conservative parliamentary hopeful for Berwick. The head of the High School has since distanced the school from the controversial email admitting it was ‘party political and was an error of judgement on his part’.
Labour have previously highlighted they believed the cost of the new extraordinary meeting called by nine Conservative councillors would be around £45k but Leader of the council Grant Davey has expressed his shock and dismay about the cost branding it ‘a vanity meeting by Tories who want to play politics on the rates’.
Grant Davey said
“The Tories have been caught playing politics on taxpayer’s money and it is a scandal that they have sought to use the fears of parents for their own party political ends. The cost of the extraordinary meeting has skyrocketed and we’ve had to audit the cost. It now stands at nearly £9k each for each of the signatories of the motion put forward by their leader Councillor Jackson. Northumberland Tories have very serious questions to answer – what role did they have in the party political email sent to parents of children at the Duchess of Alnwick High School and how can they justify calling a meeting that will cost taxpayers £80k while this council has to find £130m in cuts over the next 4 years? I want to know why Councillor Jackson has ignored legal advice from officers to press ahead with a party political meeting. This is a scandalous waste of tax payer’s money’.
NOTES AND BREAKING NEWS
- The Local Government Ombudsman has rejected Councillor Jackson’s complaint regarding the cancelled meeting 2 July