Herefordshire's Independent group rejects offer of coalition with ruling Tories (From Hereford Times)
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Herefordshire's Independent group rejects offer of coalition with ruling Tories
HEREFORDSHIRE Council’s Independent group has rejected the offer of a coalition with the ruling Tories.
The Independents reached their unanimous decision over the weekend to leave the council tied at 29-29 and controlled by the casting vote of its Tory chairman.
The Tory group reached out to both main opposition groups after the Pontrilas by-election – won by It’s Our County – brought the Tory vote and that of the combined opposition level.
It’s Out County rejected a coalition within days of the offer. The Independents were in talks for over a week.
That 29-29 tie does depend on every councillor being able to attend a full council meeting for voting.
In the wake of the decision to turn down the coalition offer, the Independent group released this statement: The Independent group, as always, has focussed on protecting and promoting Herefordshire as the prime requirement for any decision we make. We have taken the time to listen carefully to the proposition, have consulted widely in our existing and prospective wards and openly debated the proposed coalition today. The unanimous outcome is that the Independent group should decline the invitation.
The reasoning supporting this decision is that our group felt that this has been proposed too late and provides far too little particularly at this stage of the current councils lifespan. It is unfortunate that the offer of a "Golden Coalition of all the talents" was not made at the beginning of this Council in 2011. The current proposal appears to be driven by a desperate and disingenuous attempt to cling on to power following the recent loss of overall control.
The Independent group will, as ever, support all that is good for Herefordshire and will advise, co-operate, warn and oppose when appropriate. We intend to continue promoting positive and constructive policies for our county and will protect the electorate and council employees wherever possible from the recent and future excesses of the current administration particularly given the dreadful state of Herefordshire Council’s finances.
Herefordshire Independents believe in a stable economic future for the county which can only be delivered through tighter control of the council’s assets, revenue and costs and a clear programme to improve the county’s infrastructure including reconsideration of the proposed Link Road, improved passenger and freight rail transport, an Eastern by-pass for Hereford City, development of new employment at The Rotherwas Enterprise Zone, and smaller sites in Ledbury, Bromyard and Ross on Wye and sympathetic development of sufficient protected affordable and social housing to accommodate the workforce that these new jobs will attract.
The Conservative group have already set the council’s budget for the next financial year. During the remaining few months of the Conservative leadership of the administration, the Independent group will continue to support only the policies and actions that we believe are helpful to the future of the county. All future spending will be carefully scrutinised and vigorously opposed if it does not provide the very best value for money and meets our criteria for the development of the county’s economy. It is hoped that the other opposition members consent to apply our joint numerical advantage to good effect.
Only the Independent group provides unbiased vision and commitment to deliver tangible progress in the areas that will secure the future of Herefordshire. Over the coming months the Independent group will release a set of simple but effective policies which will provide the positive underpinning vision to kick start the county’s growth and drive Herefordshire forward over the next 5 and 10 years. Our policies will be transparently originated, clearly presented, fully costed and will meet the aspirations of growth and improvement expected by and deserving of the people of Herefordshire.
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