Flushed with success


Yet another letter in the Express & Echo…this time about the recent u-turn by the ruling Lib-Dem group on the city council over public toilet closures.




04 February 2010

Closing loos plan was indefensible

WE are all aware that the coming financial year is not going to be easy and hard decisions will need to made on our personal budgets.

I am assuming that the ruling Liberal Democrat Party considered the same sort of problems when drawing up the council budget for 2010/11.

I am sure it considered many options to save the £1m required to balance the books. I would have thought it prudent to have made decisions that it was happy with and could robustly defend against any scrutiny.

Indeed only a week ago it confirmed its spending plans at an executive meeting, and ignored pleas to revisit the budget at a Resource Scrutiny committee.

Yet as a result of strong public scrutiny, we discover that it is unable to defend closing toilets and, in a complete change of mind, has found the money to keep them open. I understand that £60,000 has been found by reducing the sum set aside for expected pay rises over the coming year.

I trust that the Lib Dems do not plan to increase councillors’ allowances and expenses over the coming financial year, and that no bonuses will be paid to senior officers.

But it also leads me to wonder if there are any other cuts in the proposed budget that can be reversed given enough public outcry? Cuts to street cleaning, perhaps?

Cllr Adrian Fullam is supposed to be leader of the council — on Monday we saw him lead the Lib Dems into a U-turn.

How many more will we see before the budget is finally set or before he and his weak colleagues face the electorate in May?

Paul Bull
Heavitree, Exeter

Further reading:
Exeter toilet closure plan opposed [E&E on-line , 20 January 2010]

Exeter toilet closure plan approved [E&E on-line , 27 January 2010]

Lib Dems in U-turn over Exeter toilet closures [E&E on-line , 02 February 2010]

LabouCllr Dilys Baldwin with members of the public outside the loos in Blackboy Road, Exeter

Exeter toilet closure plans dropped [E&E on-line , 10 February 2010]