The devil is in the detail of budget plans

The Conservative View with Cllr Duncan Crow SUS-170126-103712001
The Conservative View with Cllr Duncan Crow SUS-170126-103712001

One of my biggest gripes in politics is seeing the hypocrisy of those who say one thing and then do the opposite, and in doing so, not only hiding information but also misleading the public. This is what I believe happened at last week’s full council meeting at Crawley Borough Council.

In May last year, the Crawley Borough Council elections saw the Labour Administration re-elected. This was very much on the back of a parking petition that Labour circulated in marginal wards such as Southgate, Gossops Green and Tilgate, although they masqueraded it as coming from the community rather than what it really was - an overtly political petition.

Added to this, Labour’s election leaflets claimed that neighbourhood parking problems in Crawley were all the fault of the Conservatives and how only Labour could be trusted to deal with it.

This was of course all nonsense, but in the same way that fake news can gain currency when people are frustrated about something, I believe Labour’s disingenuous narrative did resonate and ultimately helped Labour to retain political control of the council.

Nine months later at last week’s full council meeting, the following sequence of events unfolded. Firstly we had the budget agenda item.

This contained the capital programme of infrastructure investment, which includes the Council’s long-standing annual budget for neighbourhood parking improvements.

This was cynically passed by Labour, full in the knowledge of what was coming next.

We then had an agenda item about whether to proceed with a new town hall in which the detailed paperwork for it was not allowed to be seen by the public.

Buried within this paperwork was that the £1.247 million that had just been approved for neighbourhood parking improvements in the budget as usual, was secretly being scrapped, with it all going towards the new town hall instead!

The Conservative Group moved an amendment to try and save the parking improvements budget but to no avail as Labour’s Councillors voted us down.

In contrast, the Conservatives in Crawley are pledged to not only reintroduce the parking improvements programme - but to expand it.