Town hall ‘jobs for boys’ claim

Blackpool Council Leader Simon Blackburn
Blackpool Council Leader Simon Blackburn
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LABOUR has been accused of creating “jobs for the boys” after putting its own members in charge of every town hall committee bar one.

Disgruntled Tories on Blackpool Council say the ruling group has adopted a “closed shop” approach to running the decision-making process.

They say when they were in charge, the chairmanships were more equally shared with the opposition.

But Labour says it has given the Tories significant power.

Conservative group leader Coun Peter Evans said: “This jobs for the boys monopoly was to be expected and it is typical of Labour.

“They make campaign statements about transparency and value for money then appoint all their own members to key roles.

“What they have also done is created a complete democratic closed shop that actually takes the decision making process out of the hands of the people of Blackpool to behind closed doors.

“Labour’s jobs for the boy’s actions has slammed the democratic door on thousands of the town’s residents.”

The number of committees has been reduced with policy, overview and scrutiny management committees replaced by a single committee.

All the chairs and vice-chairs are Labour councillors, with only the Finance and Audit Committee chaired by a Conservative, Coun Don Clapham.

But council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said there was no basis for the claims.

He said: “I completely refute the suggestion as Councillor Evans and his party have been involved fully in discussions relating to the changes to committees and raised no objections when they were discussed at annual council, which surely would have been the time to raise this issue.

“The Conservative party not only chairs finance and audit committee, which has significant powers to review how the council spends its budget, but they also have four of the six heads of scrutiny working groups.

“These have been appointed to look at specific issues across the council and can call the executive to account and make recommendations on council policy.”