Where is the democratic organisation?

I WRITE in regards the situation we are facing in North Tyneside Council at this moment in time.

We have decided as a council to agree using the two thirds majority rule under a mayoral system to set a plan and budget that represents the views of both the Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors – 40 in total.

Yet we are being informed that the mayor is still to decide whether she will accept this decision or not.

It is even more alarming when we learn that it may well be in April before the cabinet sit down to discuss it.

As the Labour group leader, I would be very interested in what readers have to say about this apparent undemocratic situation we have under a mayoral system.

The alternative proposals that were agreed were based on the principle of putting residents first.

We have agreed to negotiate with the trade unions a reduction in the working day of 12 minutes, we have sought to reduce the salaries of our high earning employees, the payment of the £250 to staff earning less £21,000 a year is also included.

We have reduced the increase in fees and charges across the whole council, and we have set plans in place to look at generating income streams, build council houses and affordable rented accommodation.

The plans include working with partners to move the regeneration of the North Bank of the Tyne at a quicker pace, and there are many more innovative schemes.

Using the 52 empty council-owned business premises rent free for a year for start-up and existing businesses is aimed at stimulating the expansion of business creation and growth in employment.

We have revised the Multiversity project for Wallsend to help our young people and new employers come together.

We have proposed these plans but we have also asked for new capital schemes to be suspended if it requires the council to borrow monies.

This is because the debt the council owes has grown from £264m in 2009 to well over half a billion.

This is not a way to run a council, there are other ways that do not place the burden on the council tax payer and that is what we proposed to look for.

The council is faced with over a £1m overspend which adds to the concerns.

The worry is if only nine elected members choose to ignore what was decided at council then where is the democratic organisation, and how can they be held to account by elected members and the residents they are meant to serve?

JIM ALLAN

Labour Group Leader

North Tyneside Council