Visiting @StaffordBC’s Cabinet
Today I attended my first Cabinet meeting as a visitor as I had submitted a question on the news story published in the Staffordshire Newsletter: “Council is creaming off our business” of which the question was:
"On the front page of the Staffordshire Newsletter on Thursday 25th August the headline was “Council is 'creaming off our business'” supported by an article explaining how Tony's Ices, run by Kevin Simcock and family, fell victim to dirty tricks undertaken by this Council. Family members of Tony's Ices have also launched a public support campaign* through Facebook. This campaign has been short in its lifespan but has reached in excess of 750 members, including myself and Cllr. Harris of Forebridge, so will the appropriate cabinet members answer :- 1 - Whether the cabinet had any prior knowledge of the decision to establish a Council owned ice-cream cart on the refurbished Victoria Park site? 2 - Whether it was the decision of the Cabinet not to setup a second ice-cream kiosk with Tony's Ices as a long-term trusted partner? 3 - Whether the cabinet believes it is right that the Council has under cut the prices of the established Tony's Ices and cause them to suffer at least a 30 percent dip in trade, as reported in the Newsletter article? 4 - Whether the cabinet thinks it is right that the Council cultivates this kind of relationship not only with its key stakeholders but also with members of the public, who have been aghast at the behaviour undertaken? 5 - What action has, or will be undertaken, on behalf of the cabinet to repair the damaged relationship between ourselves [the Council] and Tony's Ices?"
The answer I received was as I expected that no blame would be apportioned publicly for the decision made, when and who by but at least it is under investigation / review and that the facts will be established. However I was disappointed that the Cabinet Member, Councillor Mike Smith, defended the decision to compete against local small and medium businesses (especially in the case of the Simcock’s and Tony’s Ices as they hold the lease with the Council currently and have operated the business for in excess of 35 years) and likened the situation to the Borough Council’s leisure facilities of Stafford and Stone competing against Esporta, Elite 2000 and Westbridge Park. Overall I think it has been an embarrassing incident for the Council and I hope the cabinet and the Council as a whole is not only willing but pro-active about repairing the damaged relationship this decision has caused. I believe in this economic climate the Council should be supporting local residents and local businesses and am extremely disappointed in what they have done.
5th Driving Lesson
I have my next driving lesson and I need to set some time aside to do some theory learning. I had intended to tonight but after the day I’ve had I think it would be best to look at it tomorrow with a clear head, along with the CLP information I need to read, and report I need to finish touching up if necessary.