Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Ian Stephens, takes on the role as chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Culture, Tourism and Sport Board
The leader of the Council is doing the right thing in entering this particular arena in order to raise the profile of the island and politically engage with the Government and the other Councils in the country.
It is timely and appropriate at this time to step up the political issue of grants as this was, and is, fundamentally a political issue causing the crisis and is ideologically driven.
As Cllr Lumley has correctly informed us, this has been going on for some time.
Yet simply shouting from the sidelines or occasional lobbying is inadequate.There must be a well thought out plan and consistent approach.
We would assume that up to now focus has only been in the form of a lobby, appeal or occasional criticism of the cuts or grant reduction.
Not knowing what efforts have been made the public would be unable to support any move. Now we are becoming clearer support for the Council can gather momentum.
The “profound concern” from the Conservatives has to be re-thought, one would hope, so that all can come behind the challenge to the Government.
This indeed has to be a priority hence the role the leader of the council has taken up on this. It will receive the support of the Trade Unions if it is effective.
It is becoming obvious that the “£28m” + cannot be achieved by management of budgets alone.
Dangerous challenges to the existence of certain services and the survival of Council and local democracy itself is at stake.
The one sided cuts campaign envisaged by the Con/Dems and the budgets for Austerity are to be seen as an impossibility.
In this struggle to reinstate grants a strategy and clear-cut tactics have to be worked out to involve convincing argument and cross nation Local Government unity. It may involve action by Local Authorities to emphasise what is affecting us all.
Pointing the finger at the Government will have to be replaced by unity of thought and deed. It is about turning things around so that the people are not left alone to pay for Austerity. It is about taking up the Alternative.
We must get behind the Leader of the Council on behalf of the entire island.