Your LibDem councillors raised a number of important issues during this month’s full council meeting on Thursday, 16 July. Amongst these were the third crossing in Lowestoft, provision of official Travellers’ sites in Suffolk Coastal ; Concessionary travel, EOTAS, disability and employment, and the impact of the Living Wage.
Leader Dave Woods raised the administration’s inexplicable inability to agree any official site for Travellers in Suffolk Coastal, having halted consultations a couple of years back;
Talking to the issue of young people with mental health problems being sent outside the county, Julia Truelove mentioned her concerns that instead of developing resources within the county, the county remains content to send young people outside at great expense, leaving the support of friends and families – and adding to the emotional stress of young people who are already vulnerable.
Questions we posed to individual Cabinet members
David Busby to James Finch, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways about the Lowestoft Third Crossing (full story here)
In April of this year, the Prime Minister promised that Lowestoft would have a Third Crossing by 2020. It would now appear that there is confusion over the cost of undertaking the review, then producing a detailed bid so that a full, credible and robust scheme could be placed in the next Road Investment Period at the Department of Transport. Figures of £4 to £5 million are mentioned by the Chief Executive of the New Anglia LEP but the Prime Minister only promised £2 million. What is the correct estimate and who is to fund the shortfall?
Supplementary: Thank you for that answer. I understand that there is a great deal of concern in Lowestoft about the future of the Bascule Bridge, which is due for replacement soon, and a fear that the new 3rd crossing will be used as an excuse not to replace the existing bridge.
So will the Cabinet Member, and this administration, please confirm that the 3rd crossing will be the 3rd crossing and not an early replacement foe the Bascule Bridge which would make it the 2nd crossing?
Penny Otton to Lisa Chambers about EOTAS
As you are well aware I have raised the issue of children educated other than at school and you consequently heard from officers that significant improvements had been put in place. However reading the june letter from Ofsted on the Kingsfield Centre PRU in stowmarket it is obvious that there are still serious concerns. What urgent action is the council taking to rectify this as soon as possible?
Supplementary: EOTAS children are some of the most vulnerable what extra resources are you putting in to make sure that year 11 students have the best chance to achieve GCSE grades?
Caroline Page to James Finch, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways about funding Concessionary Bus Passes ( you can read Caroline’s blog about this here)
Suffolk County Council’s 2014-15 budget outturn shows a Passenger Transport underspend of £400,000 due mainly to half a million pounds of savings in spend on Concessionary Travel. Can the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport confirm that similar savings have been made every year since the County Council took over the administration of the Concessionary Travel scheme from the district councils?
(Answer was in the affirmative)
Supplementary: In July 2011 Council voted to support a motion put forward by myself, that concessionary bus pass holders eligible due to age should be able to travel using their passes from 9am during the week, in addition to removing all time limitations for disabled pass holders. This decision was undemocratically quashed by Cabinet on the grounds of cost (estimated to be around £200,000). As such arguments are groundless from the evidence of these outturn figures, will the Cabinet member now engage to revisit and reinstate that decision, so that the concessionary pass holders of Suffolk can once again enjoy the same benefits they had before the County Council took over administration of the scheme – and which, in some cases, they had enjoyed since the Second World War?
Inga Lockington to Rebecca Hopfensperger Cabinet Member for Adult Care about the impact of the Living Wage on the Adult Care budget
As the Adult Care Budget is one of the highest Budgets within the County Council, what effect if any will the Living Wage have on that budget in the future?