Create a “Shadow” Authority on the Isle of Wight.
Now’s the time to think about a New Public Authority. The Civil Authority is in tatters. Since the electoral coup on the Isle of Wight the authority has been lumbered with ineptitude. Services have been degenerating or farmed out to the private sector for years. The only increases have been in costs with taxes going up. Central Government has starved the Council with cuts in funding.
Hope for electoral change has gone, so an alternative Public Authority has to be found. Unite the Isle of Wight, the island’s political opposition, was where the basis of the alternative was to be found. The centre of opposition to Austerity and the Politics of hope was right here, now it must develop its role.
A new Authority could be the basis of new arrangements. The steering group of UTIOW has experience of being reactive but must also develop its pro-activity. A “shadow” Authority could bring together former and new Councillors from County Hall to the local parishes and former and present Isle of Wight Association (IWALC) members who are most keen. Also the Trades Unions, the Trades Council and beyond such as the excellent campaigners we have been developing. The basis of a new Public Authority could be created in waiting.
A “Shadow” Council could bring on board its shadow departments and sub-committees that are capable of handling the employment of workers in every department of the old Authority but employed on a new basis in future.
A housing committee is essential if we are to develop Public Housing. An Economics Committee will need to investigate and lead on Capital Spending in the interests of creating wealth and gaining income. Business rates of existing companies has to remain local. All taxes should be kept in the local purse and Government should fund this local and genuine “devolution”. The Authority will probably have to withdraw from the fraudulent, Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (SLEP) and European Strategic Funding. A transport grouping will need to be set up involving rail, buses and ferries and oversee any road and connectivity issues. The local NHS will need support and a new local health authority, a Public group, with the necessary expertise but independent of Government will have to come into existence far beyond what currently exists in the Council’s relationship with the health service. A new local education committee should involve teachers and headteachers and interested governors.
The aim should be for a local Authority that is legislative and executive at the same time. The current scandal over lucrative salaries and expenses involving “assistant” and CEO’s should be avoided and these posts eliminated by a new Public Authority. Instead of Cabinet and Executive powers, as well as the non-elected side of the existing Authority, these should be eventually replaced by a local assembly or Parliament, legislative and executive at the same time, with its own executive committee based upon the “Shadow” Authority. Local parish clerks or ex-town clerks should be invited to come into the “Shadow” Authority.
Of course the “shadow authority” should be voluntary, eventually becoming the actual new Public Authority, the decision to maintain such an Authority should be eventually elected and probably be paid average salary.