Labour Group report from Portsmouth City Council

John5-jan-2015 (2)This week’s council business was dominated by the full council meeting on Tuesday 10th November. Click here to see the agenda for the meeting.

For those of who would like to watch a recording of the meeting please click here

Before Tuesday’s meeting there was another demonstration against the decision last month by Conservative and UKIP councillors to write to the government and ask that no more asylum seekers be settled in Portsmouth. This decision has not only brought great discredit to the Tory administration running the city, but has also painted Portsmouth in a very negative light to the outside world.  The Labour Group did feel concerned about the demonstration, fearing that it would provoke the sort of scenes that took place on Tuesday. Indeed, far right activists used the demonstration as a platform to air their racist views and received media coverage in the process.

At the council meeting there were a number of motions debated. All three members of the Labour Group spoke passionately on the issue of tax credit cuts and a joint Lib Dem/Labour motion urged local MPs to support a reversal of the government’s current proposals. Unfortunately the Tories and UKIP combined to thwart a strong message going forward from the council on this important issue.

Motions were also tabled on the current Housing Bill going through parliament and the proposed cuts to the Hampshire Fire Service. With regards to the latter deputations from both the Area Commander of the Fire Service and the FBU were received. Labour Councillors all spoke out against the cuts. I also refuted the crude caricature of the FBU and the Trade Union movement in general being portrayed by Tory speakers. I felt it important to recognise that the FBU were not only at the forefront of ensuring the public were safe, but were also made up of Fire Fighters prepared to put their lives on the line to rescue others. Depressingly, once again, the Tories and UKIP combined to vote down a motion that would have committed the council to opposing cuts to the Fire Service.

Finally, the council will now be focussed on the latest round of budget cuts, which will be decided upon at the December full council meeting. These should be made public in the next few days and I would urge members to get involved with the council’s own consultation on what are like to be some drastic cuts to vital public services.

Councillor John Ferrett