Hull Lib Dem opposition councillors have today ‘called-in’ a decision by Labour councillors to make millions of pounds of panic cuts over the Council’s summer recess.
If implemented the cuts would lead to charges being introduced for public conveniences, the closure of Customer Service Centres, a reduction in the support for community centres and cuts to children’s services.
The cuts decision was taken by senior Labour councillors at a Cabinet meeting on Monday 25 July 2016. The Cabinet ignored pleas from the cross party Council’s Finance Scrutiny Committee to delay a decision to allow for public consultation.
The ‘call-in’ process means that the decision can’t be implemented while scrutiny councillors review the decision at a meeting to be convened in the next couple of weeks.
Opposition Lib Dem Councillor Dave McCobb, who 'called-in' the decision, said: “Call-ins are for exceptional circumstances, and in these extraordinary circumstances we felt we had no choice.
“Detailed information about the cuts was released only to a limited number of Labour councillors – not to opposition councillors. After pressure from the opposition, detailed information was handed to opposition group leaders but not to other members of the Council. When the proposals were tabled at the Council’s Finance Scrutiny Committee, there was no supporting paperwork explaining the impact or details of the cuts, and no Labour Cabinet Members or senior managers attended – so no one could explain what the plans mean or answer even basic questions.
“This is an underhand way of running things and in my view opens the Council up to accusations of serious malpractice.
“If the Cabinet doesn’t reconsider this decision, then Labour will be turning the clock back to the bad old days of decisions being taken behind closed doors in Labour Group meetings, ignoring the views of residents and by-passing the legal decision making structures of the Council. This is precisely the kind of closed-shop decision making that led to Hull being slated as the worst-run Council in the country by inspectors back in 2002.
“We don’t know how in all good conscience the Cabinet could approve these savings when they can’t possibly know what the impact will be, and the required impact assessments were not made available. In some cases these cuts might not even be possible.
“Hopefully the ‘call-in’ process will give Labour councillors a chance to think again before imposing potentially illegal cuts on the public.”