You will have read the blog about the GCP. In order to return the public money to the public purse a vote at the full board was required. Firstly, we would need to vote down the transfer of the money to a shell company, that we knew nothing about, and then vote on a new proposal.
Politics is about trust and the common good believe it or not. Trust that public sector organisations act in the best interest of the public and can act together to achieve this. There was complete agreement, before the meeting, from all the councils, health etc that the money should not be used for this shell company, for obvious probity issue.
When I became Leader of the County Council, I was warned “never trust a Lib Dem” they will always let you down. That they are followers of fashion not leaders. Having not been in politics very long I have a much more open mind. I try to see the best in people and situations.
However, mindful of the words of warning, I set out to build a working relationship with the Lib Dem Leader of the City Council. We both support business and have a significant role to play in supporting it. I had a meeting to discuss the GCP residual money and struck an agreed way forward. We would vote for the money to be given to the LEP and seek to ring fence it for use in the old GCP geographic area. Seems sensible. To avoid any “confusion” a document was prepared by the city council, which we both agreed to setting out this position.
How was it that at the vote, all councils, health, chambers of commerce and some business voted against giving the money to the shell company yet the Leader of the City Council turned her back on our agreed position and voted against us.
Don’t ever let the Lib Dem Leader of the city council ever lecture anyone ever again about openess, transparency, democracy or safe guarding public money.
I have learnt my lesson. One I was warned about. NEVER TRUST A LIB DEM.