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Decision to defer credit crunch plan sparks fury

December 17, 2008 9:26 AM
By Brentwood Gazette reporter in Brentwood Gazette
David Kendall

Cllr David Kendall

A Lib Dem councillor has attacked the mayor for deferring his urgent motion for a credit crunch plan until February.

Lib Dem leader Cllr David Kendall had hoped the council would deal with his motion to publish an "urgent action plan" at a council meeting on Wednesday on how they would help residents and businesses through the current financial crisis.

However, Mayor Cllr Dudley Payne insists the decision to defer the matter to February's policy board was just following rules laid out for meetings.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Kendall said: "With many of our residents and businesses facing serious problems in the current economic climate, they are quite rightly expecting the borough council to give them all the help and support they can.

"I wanted the council to spell out what specific measures they are taking to tackle the housing crisis, support local businesses, bring forward planned investment to drive the local economy and support residents facing financial difficulties.

The fact that this matter has now been deferred suggests a lack of urgency by the council and sends out all the wrong signals.

"We need to get on with helping people now. not sometime in February."

However Conservative council leader Brandon Lewis defended the mayor's decision, and accused Cllr Kendall of political point-scoring.

He said: "Pretty much all of David's motion, certainly all that the council can have an impact on, was already outlined as action we are taking at previous full council. Essex County Council is also working on things for residents."

Cllr Lewis added: "He is just playing politics with this, which is unfortunate as it is a serious issue. And I wish he had paid more attention to the last meeting when it was outlined."

Mayor Cllr Payne added: "They are the rules that are set out and that's all it was, unless something is really time-critical.

"It might be said this was time-critical, but between now and February things might have changed.

"At the moment the council is already doing quite a lot for residents and small businesses, shown by the fact we received an award from the Federation of Small Businesses on Wednesday."

The FSB has praised the council for the support it has given small businesses.