Don’t Abolish Broxtowe Borough Council!

There have been several incidents at Broxtowe Borough Council – including serious breaches of data protection legislation and the cover-up of alleged abuse of refugee & asylum seeking people by councillors.

However these temporary stains on the council should not tarnish what is a fundamental part of our democracy and of local decision making. This power-grab should be opposed by the people of Broxtowe, all of whom stand to lose from this.

Best wishes,

Ed Lyons

Labour Candidate for Beeston North

On the 12th July, Nottinghamshire County Council will be asked to vote on a motion calling for the abolition of local councils in favour of centralising power into the county council. This would result in the closure of Broxtowe Borough Council. Not only will this result in substantial job losses for employees at the council, but it removes an essential layer of our democratic system. This will make it harder to contact your elected councillor, and will mean that decisions that effect Broxtowe are made by people as far away as Newark.

This is, quite simply, a power-grab. Once Broxtowe Council is gone, it is gone. Whatever your feelings about the council, about the people that run it, or the councillors elected to it, we have to decide whether we want to lose our local democracy and our local voice in favour of a centralised all-powerful Nottinghamshire Council.

What needs to happen next? We need to put pressure on our elected representatives at Nottinghamshire County Council to vote against the motion to abolish local councils. We need to demonstrate that, although we might disagree with the direction our council is going, we fundamentally believe in local democracy made by and for local people.

You may sign the petition by clicking here.

12 Comments

  1. To balance the argument, please also see our post at https://bramcotetoday.org.uk/2018/07/04/nottinghamshire-county-council-to-vote-on-abolition-of-boroughs/ which gives the reasons this is being proposed.

    Personally, I can see pros and cons. Definitely there are many savings to be made. In my role as Chair of Nottinghamshire Neighbourhood Watch, dealing with eight (plus city) councils has been a nightmare. Their websites are all unique – some better than others (in my opinion).

    But like many people I worry about losing a community voice. Broxtowe BC is by no means perfect but, via our CAT meetings, we do tend to receive better support than it would appear from Notts CC.

    Finally, reducing the number of councillors would appear to be sensible but look at the hard working, committed councillors that we would be losing to then have only two Notts County Councillors to serve the residents. Consider the implications of this!!!! Sadly, residents mostly vote for a party, not the person.

  2. I can’t help but feel this is emotive nonsense. Unitary councils ARE democratic. They work well enough up and down the country, England, Wales and Scotland. 55 of them to date in England of which 20 are Labour controlled. Maybe I’m not alone in thinking that realising £20- £30 million efficiency savings per annum to fund front line essential services is more important than retaining the existing two tier delivery and governance structure introduced back in 1974 nearly 45 years ago. Local Government has to find and realise efficiency savings wherever it can before it can expect extra funding from the taxpayer. I doubt there would be any opposition from Councillors at all if it was only council employee numbers being reduced and not Councillors themselves.

    1. If savings of between £20 & £30 million are to be made, the answer must be yes.
      But instead of throwing such a bounty into the black hole of council spending, why not use it to reduce Council Tax?

  3. This, in my opinion, is a wholly political act designed not to increase efficiently but try and ensure that a certain political party retains power for ever and a day, and that suggestions/ideas from members of society are given lip service by the ruling party, but never incorporated. The present two or three tier system at least offers a measure of checks and balances against the dictatorship of a single party county council. The next logical step, one that has been knocked on the head for the time being, is for the post of Regional Mayor to whom all the Unitarian County Councils will be subservient, to be established and thus putting power, dangerously, into the hands of one person.

    The much trumpeted £20 to £30 million pound savings per annum is pie in the sky, as once this is achieved the first year it will be offset by a reduction by the same amount (if not more) in the Government Grant in subsequent years. Conceivably this £20m saving p/a should mean a reduction of about £57p/a per household (figures from 2011 when there were 347 thousand households in the county) in council tax. However this won’t happen as the excuse will be that “essential services have to be maintained”. Essential services such as repairing of roads and pavements, keeping schools habitable and in good repair, having a decent pupil/teacher ratio, having enough police to deal with an ever increasing crime rate and providing decent social care and services, none of which are being maintained because of continued reductions in the grant from central government. However I’m sure that some essential services will be maintained eg “Twinning Visits” and the like.

    As Sue stated reducing the number of councillors would make life quite difficult for people to bring up matters of local interest or concern. I’m sure that most of the Borough and Town Councillors attempt to carry out the job to which they have been elected to the best of their ability, however from what I hear there are one or two who refuse to discuss matters, or even to communicate, with either the other councillors or, even worse, the people they are supposed to represent.

    As she so rightly says, ‘sadly most people vote for the party and don’t look at the person’, and that is not only tragic, but leads to backbiting and recriminations. Personally I would like to see a ban on any mention of Party Political reference (including colour of type face, background or banner) on all election literature (posters included) from, and including, County Council downwards. I’d also like to see, and I don’t expect this to happen any day soon, all local (initially) election expenses to be borne by the state with all candidates being allocated exactly the same amount of money with a strict upper limit and a prohibition on any external contributions, thus giving all candidates an equal chance on a level playing field.

    Theoretically serving as a councillor is supposed to be a way of serving the community just like Special Constables, Magistrates and voluntary Youth Organisation Leaders. I wonder just how many of our councillors view it that way?

    Maybe we the population ought to have a say, after all we are the ones who are going to be affected by this, or are Kay Cutts and her fellow councillors worried that we might vote the “wrong” way. ie Against.

  4. Ed Lyons in your post you state that there is an alleged cover up of “abuse of refugee & asylum seeking people by councillors.” That is a very strong accusation from a candidate for the main opposition on Broxtowe Council to make.

    No councillors have abused refugees or asylum seekers.

    The words “by councillors” means you are casting accusations at all of us, Tory, Labour, LibDem and Independent.

    If you have names I suggest you make them public otherwise you should retract your claims and apologise.

  5. As one of the Councillors involved in the care of refugees and asylum seekers, the allegation of any abuse or mistreatment towards them is totally unfounded, untrue and an utter fabrication.
    Indeed our work and handling of the resettlement programme has not only recieved praise in
    Parliament but also been held up as a shining example to other authorities for our expertise and sensitive approach.
    Allegations of the nature expressed by Mr. Lyons are cruel and unfounded.
    Councillor Jan Goold (Chair of Community Safety Broxtowe Borough Council)

  6. F A O Ed Lyons.

    Pleased that Cllrs Carr and Gould have responded to your very serious allegations which seriously undermine the the work of Browtowe Borough Council and in particular the work of Cllrs Patrick and Gould in welcoming in every way possible refugee families into our Borough.

    Knowing your family to be honourable and beyond reproach I would ask that you substantiate your ‘abuse and cover up’ remarks directly to the Council’s Chief Executive or offer through this medium a complete withdrawal and apology to ALL Broxtowe Councillors.

  7. Sorry for the delayed response to this post –

    I have an outstanding complaint lodged with Broxtowe Borough Council regarding behaviour I have witnessed and which has been reported to me through my professional work with refugee & asylum seeking people. A complaint was made in January of this year and an inadequate response was received, a secondary complaint was logged in June in light of new information. I have all of this in writing & have a full chain of communications. Alleged incidents have been witnessed by several individuals and have been written & signed.

    I have been careful in my language to use the term ‘alleged’ as I understand that investigations should take place into my complaints. I have not named the Councillor/s concerned as there are complaints outstanding which have not yet been responded to. I should also note that the statement I have made echoes those made in local press.

    I hope that the Councillors above understand that I would not make spurious accusations that are not based on substantial evidence, several witnesses to alleged incidents & the advice of authorities. Through my professional employment I work closely with refugee and asylum seeking people, as well as council officers, and understand that any false accusation would seriously compromise my employment.

    While I do not feel it is right for me to list the specific alleged incidents here, I am happy to forward this information to Councillors.

  8. Thank you Ed for your response. Cllrs Carr and Gould raised their concerns with you on this media and no doubt if they wish to receive more detail will respond accordingly.
    For my part would appreciate the information forwarding to my Broxtowe e-mail address.

  9. I for one know probably more than most people how hard Councillor Jan Goold has continued to work with, help and support the refugees here in Broxtowe. Her commitment to these people in a desperate time of need is to be commended. This Councillor has gone above and beyond to help them.

    This is one of the great things achieved by Broxtowe Borough Council and a Broxtowe Borough Councillor, and this is the kind of thing Longdon and Doddy voted against yesterday when they both voted to abolish Broxtowe Borough Council.

    I would like to hear from other Broxtowe Borough Councillors what they think to the way we have been betrayed by our two County Councillors though.

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