Collapse of coalition talks: Herefordshire Council leader's statement

Hereford Times: Collapse of coalition talks: Herefordshire Council leader's statement Collapse of coalition talks: Herefordshire Council leader's statement

HEREFORDSHIRE Council leader councillor Tony Johnson has turned accusations of “cynicism” back on the two leading opposition groups who rejected the offer of a coalition.

The Independent group confirmed this morning that it had unanimously voted against a coalition offer from the ruling Tory group with the council tied at 29-29.

It’s Our County said no over a week ago.

This afternoon, Coun Johnson released this statement in relation to the rejection.

I am disappointed that IOC and Independents have refused the offer to set aside political differences, take Cabinet places in this Council and cooperate for the benefit of Herefordians.

The Government is having to deal with the unprecedented liabilities left by the financial vandalism of the previous Labour Government. As a result, deep cuts are unavoidable leaving 160 Councils including Herefordshire with very few options and some extraordinarily difficult decisions. There is insufficient income to pay for all the services that have previously been funded. This is simple arithmetic and not a political statement.

IOC maintain that the problems are not because of cuts to income but because of bad management by this Administration. However, when asked “what would you have done differently and what difference would that have made to todays position”? they are strangely silent. I have said on many occasions, if anyone has any viable, affordable ideas – we are all ears.

Priorities must be made. Our priorities are:- To keep young people safe, to protect the vulnerable, and to invest in projects to improve roads, create jobs and build more homes for this and future generations. This is not necessarily a headline grabbing agenda but a clear focus to ensure that precious taxpayer’s money is spent in the best possible way for the people of Herefordshire. This is clearly an agenda that the opposition groups would rather not deal with or simply have no alternative. Their eyes are on the next election – not what is best for Herefordians.

This Conservative administration will continue to do what’s unavoidable but right and which includes much good news. The new livestock market goes from strength to strength, a new retail centre which will bring hundreds of much needed jobs, a rapidly growing success story of inward investment and jobs at Rotherwas, a swimming pool, a new archive centre, a new crematorium, a new main contractor with capital investment for our minor roads, a sound budget for next year as part of a three year plan etc. etc. most of which were opposed by other groups.

Against this record we are accused by the opposition groups of cynicism by making an offer to them of coalition. It is worth noting that we still have a majority vote in the Council and did not have to make an offer at all except as a natural progression of my stated intention since my election last May, to be inclusive in my approach as Leader.

Let us be quite clear, with their eyes on the next election, those groups are positively choosing to remain in opposition rather than deal with the hard job of making Herefordshire the best it can be.

I will leave Herefordians to decide who is cynical.

Comments (8)

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5:36pm Mon 9 Dec 13

gedina says...

This only serves to emphasise to us all that yiu are all solely concerned with promoting your own petty political views and standpoints, rather than working together as a united council for the benefit of your residents.
You are all a bunch of hypercrites and liars.
Be warned, that at the next electuions, you will all be history.
This only serves to emphasise to us all that yiu are all solely concerned with promoting your own petty political views and standpoints, rather than working together as a united council for the benefit of your residents. You are all a bunch of hypercrites and liars. Be warned, that at the next electuions, you will all be history. gedina

5:48pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Bromyard Boy says...

I have to agree with you there Gedina, these clowns are slowly sinking into their own mire at every utterance.
How can anyone actually believe in the validity of what they are saying , all that they spout is regarding their own party views, and nothing about what they are doing for us,
Not only will they soon be history, but they will sink into obscurity without trace.
We need a strong council that is commited to looking after our interests, instead of shouting their political mouths off at every opportunity.
Councillors, just go away and leave us in peace, will you?
I have to agree with you there Gedina, these clowns are slowly sinking into their own mire at every utterance. How can anyone actually believe in the validity of what they are saying , all that they spout is regarding their own party views, and nothing about what they are doing for us, Not only will they soon be history, but they will sink into obscurity without trace. We need a strong council that is commited to looking after our interests, instead of shouting their political mouths off at every opportunity. Councillors, just go away and leave us in peace, will you? Bromyard Boy

12:05am Tue 10 Dec 13

Mr.Herefordian says...

Tony you and your party have driven on with your ideas ignoring people from all over asking for reconsideration on some of your policy's and all you do is treat these people with contempt. Now you blame others for not joining your group of largely unqualified Councillors to do the work. Yes the council is being hammered by this government so even a bigger reason for having a coalition long ago before attempting to go it alone for political reasons and not the good of our county.
Tony you and your party have driven on with your ideas ignoring people from all over asking for reconsideration on some of your policy's and all you do is treat these people with contempt. Now you blame others for not joining your group of largely unqualified Councillors to do the work. Yes the council is being hammered by this government so even a bigger reason for having a coalition long ago before attempting to go it alone for political reasons and not the good of our county. Mr.Herefordian

5:50am Tue 10 Dec 13

JohnBoym458 says...

The above comments reflect what the majority of people in hereford think of the council, including myself, however, It is a fact that not just hereford but the whole country has had to find a way to get out of this whole financial mess that the LIEbour government put us in, squabbling like children will not get us any where. There will be hard and very unpopular decisions to be made which are going to upset and anger many people, such is life boys & girls, man up and move forward. Now lets have someone from IOC & Independants on here explaining to the people of hereford what they propose to do to help our City move forward and how they propose deal with the lack of funding from government and what cuts they would make ..........Please Please Please......I hate what is happening to hereford and the way this under hand council is being run but i haven't heard what IOC & Independants would do differently....Maybe its because i am going deaf & blind in my old age and not reading the correct sites??????????
The above comments reflect what the majority of people in hereford think of the council, including myself, however, It is a fact that not just hereford but the whole country has had to find a way to get out of this whole financial mess that the LIEbour government put us in, squabbling like children will not get us any where. There will be hard and very unpopular decisions to be made which are going to upset and anger many people, such is life boys & girls, man up and move forward. Now lets have someone from IOC & Independants on here explaining to the people of hereford what they propose to do to help our City move forward and how they propose deal with the lack of funding from government and what cuts they would make ..........Please Please Please......I hate what is happening to hereford and the way this under hand council is being run but i haven't heard what IOC & Independants would do differently....Maybe its because i am going deaf & blind in my old age and not reading the correct sites?????????? JohnBoym458

7:20am Tue 10 Dec 13

WYSIATI says...

Mr Johnson - sorry to say but I have to agree with a lot of what you say - the far harder challenge for the IOC and the Independents would be to work with you to try to sort things out than to wait for the election.

BUT you cannot sit there and blame this on the last Government - this is the current Government's choice and deliberate policy. Sure they do not know what the consequences will be nor do they care what the impact is on Hereford.

You may have missed the global financial crisis and the need to bail out the Banks (not well known for their left leaning politics). UK Government interest payments as percentage of GDP lower for every year of the last Labour Govt than any year of the Thatcher Govt from 1979-1990.

Time to get real and stop playing politics
Mr Johnson - sorry to say but I have to agree with a lot of what you say - the far harder challenge for the IOC and the Independents would be to work with you to try to sort things out than to wait for the election. BUT you cannot sit there and blame this on the last Government - this is the current Government's choice and deliberate policy. Sure they do not know what the consequences will be nor do they care what the impact is on Hereford. You may have missed the global financial crisis and the need to bail out the Banks (not well known for their left leaning politics). UK Government interest payments as percentage of GDP lower for every year of the last Labour Govt than any year of the Thatcher Govt from 1979-1990. Time to get real and stop playing politics WYSIATI

11:33am Tue 10 Dec 13

fordshire77 says...

How long have the Tories been in charge of Herefordshire council?? yes I’m fully aware that Labour messed the country up but its the Tories that have messed our county up well and truly!
How long have the Tories been in charge of Herefordshire council?? yes I’m fully aware that Labour messed the country up but its the Tories that have messed our county up well and truly! fordshire77

11:44am Tue 10 Dec 13

steveinleo says...

I see the old cherry of Lanor bashing is the main excuse !!!!
Sorry to have to tell you, but Hereford council was conservative lead when labor were in so in reality, the current conservative council is blaming its self for making the balls ups !!!!

It is about time that the overpaid councillors on the cabinet stopped waving the blame stick, and actually did something constructive, like resign and give true herefordians a chance to decide what the budget is spent on.

We need, education, hospitals, elderly services etc. what we don't need to run things are 20 FAT CATS each taking massive pay cheques to then enrole their consultant buddies into another double dip of the fund pot to tell them what to do.

You never hear of councillors declining wage rises or even taking no wage to help the county. There are plenty of residents volunteering to work for free to keep services running.
I see the old cherry of Lanor bashing is the main excuse !!!! Sorry to have to tell you, but Hereford council was conservative lead when labor were in so in reality, the current conservative council is blaming its self for making the balls ups !!!! It is about time that the overpaid councillors on the cabinet stopped waving the blame stick, and actually did something constructive, like resign and give true herefordians a chance to decide what the budget is spent on. We need, education, hospitals, elderly services etc. what we don't need to run things are 20 FAT CATS each taking massive pay cheques to then enrole their consultant buddies into another double dip of the fund pot to tell them what to do. You never hear of councillors declining wage rises or even taking no wage to help the county. There are plenty of residents volunteering to work for free to keep services running. steveinleo

11:16pm Tue 10 Dec 13

AdrianBridges says...

Here is the Independents Reply to the offer

Herefordshire’s Independent group have given very careful consideration to the invitation from the Conservative group to form a coalition including a minority of cabinet posts.

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.

The Conservatives, and ‘It’s Our County’ are registered political parties who are funded externally, are constrained by party dogma and we also believe they are open to the influences of groups and individuals from outside Herefordshire. The Herefordshire Independent group contains individuals whose clear and transparent motives are quite simply whatever is best for Herefordshire.

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.

Some members of the Council will tell you that ‘It’s Our County’, The Independent Group faithfully assure you that it’s actually YOUR County and we are here to secure it for you.
Here is the Independents Reply to the offer Herefordshire’s Independent group have given very careful consideration to the invitation from the Conservative group to form a coalition including a minority of cabinet posts. 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. The Conservatives, and ‘It’s Our County’ are registered political parties who are funded externally, are constrained by party dogma and we also believe they are open to the influences of groups and individuals from outside Herefordshire. The Herefordshire Independent group contains individuals whose clear and transparent motives are quite simply whatever is best for Herefordshire. 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. Some members of the Council will tell you that ‘It’s Our County’, The Independent Group faithfully assure you that it’s actually YOUR County and we are here to secure it for you. AdrianBridges

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