10 May 2016
The Green Party has recently been criticised for abstaining in a vote to select the new leader of Norfolk County Council. Until now, Green County Councillors have supported the Rainbow Alliance of Labour, UKIP and the Lib Dems, but they have now withdrawn this support in protest at the lack of interest shown by the Alliance in environmental and social issues.
The Alliance has consistently implemented a cuts regime and in the budget debate earlier this year worked with the Conservatives to make the £42m of cuts over the next 12months.
This is at a time when Labour county councillors have allowed a private company building the Northern Distributor Road around Norwich to hike its contract costs by £30 million, which Green councillors have called a 'public sector rip-off'. The Greens on the County Council have said that they will not support any party which seeks to enact a cuts agenda.
The decision to abstain in the recent AGM, followed Labour's support for the Eastern Devolution settlement which included the creation of an elected mayor for the eastern region. This settlement would have wrested control away from local councils and given power to one person (almost certainly a Conservative) whose remit is more akin to an American style governor rather than a European style mayor.
Given the recent actions of the Labour leadership at County Hall, Green councillors have no reason to believe that Labour would not implement cuts. Therefore, the Greens were unable to support the UKIP, Lib Dem and Labour alliance at County Hall.
It is important to remember that although the leadership has changed the control of the influential committees has remained the same:
Before yesterday's vote the Tories controlled:
1) the financial and budget committee (policy and resources)
2) environment, transport and development committee.
Labour/UKIP/Lib Dem controlled:
3) Children's committee
4) Adults committee
5) Communities committee
After yesterday's vote it is exactly the same. Norfolk County Council was already half Conservative run: Now it is still half Alliance (UKIP, Labour, Lib Dem) run.