Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 1st to 7th April 2012

Articles for the past week:

Leader:  Unequally yoked

News this past week: 

1.  No IT Disaster Recovery Plan For Council Tax & Benefits

2.  £130 Tax Cut For 329,200 People In West Sussex – Cllr Alan Rice

WORTHING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 1ST TO 7TH APRIL 2012

Lib Dems will keep Worthing’s services local

Lib Dems will get on with bringing our town into the 21st century – no more dither and delay

Lib Dems will ensure ‘We are all in it together’ – no more waste and high pay

Lib Dems are the only opposition in Worthing – Labour can’t win here

Lib Dems support 20 mph in Worthing’s residential roads

Leader:  Unequally yoked

Not only were nominations announced this week for Worthing Borough Council elections on May 3rd but also Adur District Council on the same day. Worthing and Adur Councils have been getting closer and closer since their “groundbreaking” merger of services which began in earnest in July 2007.  A merger which we later described as being more “backbreaking” than “groundbreaking” as far as the staff were concerned.  The Tories have claimed huge savings have been achieved through the merger but we believe the same savings would have been achieved without going down this particular path and without the disruption.  We are also disturbed as the partners are unequally yoked.

Merging the refuse collection services made good sense and indeed it was the Liberal Democrats who first suggested the idea and there are other services which will benefit from the partnership. But we believe Adur and Worthing should not be the sole vehicle for partnership working and others should be investigated more thoroughly.  Back office services which do not face the public are good examples – legal, audit and finance services spring to mind. Why cannot these come together for say the whole of West Sussex?  There would be greater savings there.

Why do we say unequally yoked?  Simply because Adur and Worthing have so many differences but have been forced into a political straightjacket which pretends the differences do not exist. The political straightjacket caused by the merging of the Adur and Worthing Cabinets into the Joint Strategic Committee; by the merging of the separate Overview & Scrutiny Committees into the Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee and by the merger of the separate Audit & Governance Committees into the Joint Audit & Governance Committee.  Each of these committees has an equal number of councillors from Adur and Worthing but Adur members represent 85,000 people and Worthing represent 100,000.  Is that fair?

Liberal Democrats are confident of gains this coming May – what would happen if we gain power in Worthing but not in Adur?  Unless the present system is abandoned we would have a Joint Strategic Committee made up of equal numbers from the two ruling parties. Not a situation we would relish – abandonment would definitely be on the cards.  As it is, although Liberal Democrats hold a third of the seats in Worthing, we only have a one sixth of the voice on the Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee which should be holding the ruling administration to account.  And on the Joint Audit & Governance Committee we have only one member and one voice – we cannot even make a proposal as we have no seconder. This year that would appear including making proposals to membership of the committees for 2012-13. Is that fair?

Talk of a full merger of Adur and Worthing Councils is premature because of some of those differences. The new council would have to have the same council tax – presently Adur has the highest in West Sussex with Band D at £1,579.95 against second highest Worthing at £1,516.41. So would Adur come down or Worthing go up?   Worthing is a Borough with a Mayor but Adur is a District with a Chairman – does Worthing abandon its Mayor?  It’s not impossible to have a full merger but it would be fraught with difficulty and we are sure a lot of heated debate.

Some of our frustration would be removed if we had more councillors in Adur which is why we are looking to May 3rd with eager anticipation.  We once controlled Adur in a golden period and we are making every effort this time to start the climb back. Liberal Democrat candidates in both authorities are as follows:

            Adur District                                                         Worthing Borough    

Buckingham:    Julie Petrie                                        Broadwater:    James Nelson

Churchill:         Steve Martin                                      Castle:            David Potter

Cokeham:        Nilda Dooraree                                   Central:           Laura Scott

Eastbrook:       Tom Hilditch                                      Durrington:       Michael Donin

Manor:             Stuart Douch                                        Gaisford:         Emma Davies

Marine:            Naria Baboumian                               Goring:           Michael Finch

Peveral:           Raj Dooraree                                       Heene:           Shan Orr-Ewing

Southlands:     Cyril Cannings                                   Marine:           Yvonne Leonard

St Mary’s:       John Hilditch                                       Northbrook:     Keith Sunderland

St Nicholas:    Janet Kimber                                      Offington:       Trudi Starling & Linda Williams

Widewater:      Vincent Kay                                       Salvington:     Neil Campbell

Selden:          Jackie Cranefield

Tarring:          Norah Fisher

Another difference between Adur and Worthing is that Adur has Parish Councils which Worthing does not – at least at the time being but that is a subject for another day.

Liberal Democrat candidates in Adur Parish elections are as follows:

                Sompting Parish                                                           Lancing Parish

Cokeham North:      Doris Martin and Stuart Douch             Churchill:           Patricia Izod, Roy Kelly and Steve Martin

Cokeham South:     Liz Haywood and Kay Vincent               Manor North:     Stuart Douch

Peveral North:          Patricia Izod                                                Manor South:     Cyril Cannings

Peveral South:         Steve Martin and Julie Petrie                Mash Barn:        Liz Haywood, Jennifer Kelly, Doris Martin                                                                                                                     Widewater:        Naria Babourmain and Kay Vincent

It is high time for a change for the better in both Adur and Worthing – high time to rid Adur and Worthing of the “High Tax – No Spend” Tories.

If you live in either authority vote on May 3rd for the party that will make that change – Vote Liberal Democrat.

The more gains we make in both authorities the less we will be unequally yoked.

Worthing Liberal Democrats 

NEWS FROM THE PAST WEEK

NO IT DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN FOR COUNCIL TAX & BENEFITS

Thursday 5th April – Internal Audit reported to tonight’s Adur & Worthing Joint Audit & Governance Committee they could only give limited assurance on Disaster Recovery (Computer Audit). Two Priority 1 recommendations were given relating to their “being no IT Disaster Recovery plan in place at the time of the audit and no alternative data centre being identified”.  The response received to the draft report confirmed that a CenSus Disaster Recovery project will be undertaken during 2012-13 which will address these two issues. CenSus is the joint IT programme used by Adur, Worthing and Horsham for council tax collection and benefit payments.  An Internal Audit Prority 1 recommendation concerns “major issues for the attention of senior management.”

Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader said: “It’s a disaster that there apparently is no disaster recovery plan for such an important area.  What could be worse than not being able to collect council tax or pay benefits? Let’s hope and pray it’s not a disaster waiting to happen.”

£130 TAX CUT FOR 329,200 PEOPLE IN WEST SUSSEX – CLLR ALAN RICE

Friday 6th April –  Today the Personal Allowance will be raised for the second year in a row, meaning 329,200 people in West Sussex will get a £130 Income Tax cut and the number of the lowest paid people who have been lifted out of paying any Income Tax will reach 15,800.
Commenting, Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice said: “The tax system had gotten increasingly unfair under successive governments over the last few decades, sucking more and more people into paying Income Tax.  It was patently unfair that when Liberal Democrats came into office, millions of low-paid workers were paying a higher proportion of their income in tax than the richest were. I’m proud that Liberal Democrats did the right thing and made rebalancing the tax system a priority, putting it on the front page of our manifesto. More than a million people will have been lifted out of paying Income Tax all together and over 20m basic-rate taxpayers have received a £330 tax cut since the Coalition Government came into power. At the same time, Liberal Democrats are making sure the rich pay their fair share, by closing loopholes, introducing a tycoon tax and cracking down on tax avoidance. As we clean up the economic mess Labour left behind, it is right that the broadest shoulders bear the heaviest burdens.” (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)

DIARY

Wednesday 12th April – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – The Durrington Community Centre, New Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm

Saturday 14th April – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Shops 10.00 to 10.30 am

Saturday 14th April – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to noon

FURTHER AHEAD

Tuesday 17th April – WBC Full Council Meeting – Council Chamber, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Tuesday 17th April – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm

and every third Tuesday of the month

Wednesday 18th April – WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Thursday 19th April – WSCC Shadow West Sussex Health and Wellbeing Management Board – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm

Friday 20th April – WSCC Environmental and Community Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Monday 23rd April – WSCC Governance Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm

Tuesday 24th April – WSCC Cabinet Meeting – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Wednesday 25th April – WSCC Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Wednesday 25th April – WSCC Pensions Panel – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Thursday 26th April – WSCC Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Friday 27th April – WSCC Policy and Resources Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Tuesday 1st May – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Thursday 3rd May – Worthing Borough Council Elections

Saturday 5th May – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – Sidney Walter Centre, Sussex Road 10.30 am to 12.00 noon

and every first Saturday of the month

Saturday 5th May – Lib Dem Broadwater Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 2.00 to 4.00 pm

and every first Saturday of the month

Thursday 17th May – WSCC West Sussex Joint Commissioning Board – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm

Friday 18th May – WSCC Full County Council (meeting will be webcast) – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Friday 18th May – WBC Annual Council Meeting – Council Chamber, Town Hall at noon

Thursday 24th May – WSCC Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Tuesday 29th May – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

Tuesday 29th May – WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Thursday 31st May – WSCC Policy and Resources Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am

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