Published Date: 28 August 2010
By Richard Marsden
A COUNCILLOR has hit out at hours of debates at Sheffield Town Hall being “wasted” by rival parties points-scoring on national issues.
Coun Rob Murphy, who represents Central Ward on Sheffield Council, spoke out after the agenda was published for next Wednesday’s full meeting of the authority – in which the first two motions, from the Liberal Democrats and Labour, alternately praise and criticise national Government policies over which they have no power or influence.
Most of the monthly meetings have followed the same pattern in recent years.
The Lib Dems praise coalition plans to scrap identity cards and improve civil liberties, whilst Labour’s motion attacks the number of millionaires in the cabinet and condemns the Government’s cuts and rise in VAT – both of which were likely to have happened even if Labour had stayed in Downing Street.
Former Chancellor Alistair Darling has revealed he wanted to put up VAT before the General Election but the idea was vetoed by Gordon Brown.
Coun Murphy, of the Green Party, said: “Whilst there is a point to discussing national issues where they directly affect Sheffield and if the council has some influence, motions being debated just to praise or criticise the national Government are not a constructive way of using council time. Hours are wasted in this way.”
Coun Murphy, whose party’s own motion is proposing the council should develop proposals to generate electricity to improve the city’s supply of renewable energy, said: “The full council meetings have just turned into a slanging match between the two major parties.”
Other motions lower down Wednesday’s agenda pay tribute to late Labour leader Jan Wilson, welcome support in Sheffield for Pakistan flood victims and voice concern over plans for elected mayors.
Lib Dem motions announce help for businesses and improvements to some services despite cuts, whilst Labour is calling for more spending on road safety in deprived areas