Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Councillor refuses to discuss fire cuts in secret

A leading Cambridgeshire County Councillor has refused to attend a cross-party meeting to discuss fire spending cuts because it is being held behind closed doors.

Nigel Bell, Liberal Democrat Leader on the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority also expressed concern that there would be no official public minutes or notes from the meeting.

Cllr Bell was invited by the ruling Conservative group to attend the county council’s Policy Steering Group meeting tomorrow Wednesday (July 20) to discuss cuts to fire cover across the county.

But he refused claiming that it would be better if the issue were discussed in public by the Policy and Finance Committee which could exclude the public and press for part of the meeting if necessary.    

Cllr Bell said: “I believe we should be held accountable by the taxpayers of this county and we are not allowing that to happen if we hold discussions on important issues which affect them in private.

“The Lib Dems have already refused to attend county council cross party Policy Development Groups because they are held behind closed doors and not subject to proper public scrutiny or record.

“I will not be part of secret meetings and certainly not when they are called to discuss an issue as crucial as spending cuts to our emergency fire cover. We should be open about this issue and discussing it in public where we can be held up to proper scrutiny is the only way this should be done.”