Scrutiny meetings generally conclude with a report from the relevant Cabinet
Member and with Bexley Council running occasional joint meetings we are
sometimes given the privilege, ahem, of two such reports. The Resources and
Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting was one such meeting, Cabinet
Member Louie French (Growth) and Cabinet Member David Leaf (Resources) both had their say.
Councillor French did not have a lot to add to his contributions made earlier in the meeting which is not intended as a criticism but a simple fact. He spent quite a long time ensuring that various staff members were thanked for their hard work and urged everyone to comment on the Local Plan. He took 250 seconds to deliver his address.
We have to look to Councillor Leaf for the best in entertainment value and his remarkably short 192 seconds did not disappoint. He referred to the Council Tax bills landing on doormats and in Inboxes and the need to start looking again at the budget process. He spoke vaguely about digital contracts which I assume is the free wi-fi coming soon to shopping centres and the webcasting contract which is up for renewal soon.
Brexit is causing some additional work because Bexley Council does not intrude too far into personal business (“we do not have a Stalinist approach”) and therefore has no record of how many non-UK citizens it employs. Councillor Leaf was worried that some might read The Guardian or listen to the BBC and thereby “become unnecessarily frightened”. He has made provision to help them apply for “settled status”.
“Unlike other Councils” he said, “we do not have an EU flag flying ready to be pulled down, sadly not on March 29th it seems”. He referred to the Champagne he had laid in for the occasion.
I must learn to look at Councillor Leaf in a different light, no one is all bad.