This Week’s News at County Hall from Leics Lib Dems…
Two Tory MPs blow taxpayer money on their heating
A Leicester Mercury article revealed that the heating expense claims of Andrew Robathan and Alan Duncan were around £4,500 and £4,000 respectively - more than three times the national average!
Perhaps we need to get them both signed up to the Green Deal in order to save the taxpayer some money!!
Another article for the blog
Sarah scrutinises some predictions made by the Department for Transport.
Many of our transport policies are based on the assumption that car usage is going to become much cheaper by 2031. If these assumptions are wrong (and Sarah finds some serious flaws in the methodology) then it's probably that our current policies will leave us very unprepared for the realities that the future brings!
Some Victories in Scrutinising the Council
Although we don't run the Council, our presence in Scrutiny Committees gives us a way to improve County Council policy.
- We have requested a report on bus ticketing.
The City and County have been working on a scheme that allows you to buy a "Flexi ticket" that will work on any of the bus companies in Leicester. It allows you to go out with one company, and come back with another, rather than buy a separate ticket from each bus company. Unfortunately, it doesn't yet apply to journeys to the outer County areas like Hinckley and Market Harborough.
We think that the County Council needs to put more effort in extending the flexi-ticketing scheme to the outer-county areas and this report is the first step along the way to doing it.
- We also requested a report on rail improvements, particularly in Market Harborough. Jeff Kaufman wrote an article last week explaining why the County Council needs to push for such improvements urgently!
Although our preference would have been for a full report and debate at the Scrutiny Committee, as this stage we've only managed to get them to commit to a member briefing that would detail the County Council's position. Again, this is the first step towards establishing what the current thinking is so we can make the case to change it.
- We have suggested some improvements to the ways Reserves are reported, which would give us a bit more information on how they're being spent, and why actual amounts differ from predictions.
Bringing more transparency to how reserves are being used to ensure that they're being properly utilised was one of our key manifesto commitments. Hopefully these changes will help us scrutinise how the Tories are using the reserves to ensure that they're being used to their full potential.