Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

29/08/08 Residents ‘gagged by stealth’ as Council Assembly is sc

MP ROSIE Cooper has hit out after district council bosses scrapped the authority’s annual Council Meeting as an Assembly.

In a letter from chief executive Bill Taylor, Rosie was told that funding for the event, which usually takes place in January, has been axed, and he isn’t aware of any plans to revive it.

Rosie has now accused the district council of “running scared” of debating local issues, and is challenging them to reinstate it.

Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire, said: “It’s not as if there is a shortage of issues on which the people of West Lancashire want answers from the district council. For instance, what about the pensioners’ bus travel fiasco, the secret closure of Ormskirk and Skelmersdale’s cash offices or problems across the district with the bin collections?

“Since the Assembly was brought in, hardly any of the main topics were about council services. Instead, for some reason, the council leadership preferred to look at issues which it has no control over, such as boundary changes or new health bodies for West Lancashire.

“If the council feels it has run out of topics to discuss, why doesn’t it take a look at its own services, or is it running scared?

“I think it’s probably that they are running scared given that in the past few years the council has denied the public the right to speak at Full Council meetings, and has also axed the area consultative forums which gave a voice to local communities across West Lancashire.

“To cap it all, they’ve now gone and scrapped the largest forum of the lot. The people of West Lancashire will be puzzled as to why they are being gagged by stealth by their local district council.”

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