Monday, September 03, 2007

Does Gibson support a referendum on Unitary?

In trying to explain away the confusion over his stance on the Norwich Unitary bid in the Evening News, Dr Gibson concludes by saying that “I await to see if a referendum is called.”

As it was the Conservatives who first put down a motion to call a public vote on Unitary, opposed by Labour and the LibDems, I welcome his tacit support for a referendum. However, I might have thought that one of our City MPs might be a bit more up to date because the government has specifically ruled out a vote on the issue. In the same way that Gordon Brown refuses the people of the UK a vote on the proposed EU Constitution, his government refuses us a vote on how we should be governed locally.

The refusal of the Labour Government to allow local people a say before their local Council is considered for abolition is a denial of democracy. On the 5th July, the Conservatives in the House of Lords put down an amendment to require a binding referendum before any new Unitary Councils are created. The Government said, “where a democratically elected Council takes a decision it should be validated in the normal way through a local election, the most significant referendum of all. In our representative democracy, it is surely up to a democratically elected Council to make a decision that the electorate can always contradict at the ballot box."

So local people are to be denied a voice again by Dr Gibson’s government, although I am sure that they will take the government’s advice and take the opportunity at any future general election to elect an MP who has consistently opposed Unitary for Norwich.


Anonymous said...

I think most regard Ian Gibson as an independent thinker, and not particularly a poodle of the Government. For me he stated quite reasonably why he is keeping his powder dry on this issue, whilst others are letting their fireworks "pop", until the boundaries are known, and debate on the pros and cons is ripe. I totally agree with Ian Gibson, a Greater Norwich (those within the proposed boundies )referendum is the only fair and open way forward.

John said...

Ian Gibson said this to me in an email, "I assure you that I have taken an even handed approach on this issue. As yet there are still many hurdles to cross and my position continues to be neutral, representing as I do both constituents for and against the plans. Norwich City Council will only get control if the people of any new boundaries agree. The first Norwich application has been rejected. The new boundaries must be decided and it is up to the people."

There has to be a referendum if the people who will be affected by the proposed Norwich expansion are really to have their say.

It will be too late if the first opportunity we have is to vote for councillors after the new local authority has been created.

Anonymous said...

As a councillor I think it would be wrong if there is no referendum. The government has misled the public over this issue. It said onething, bid on existing boundaries and now has done something else!

The whole consultation process was a joke. Many people in Broadland didn't think they would be involved and and their voices were not heard. They assumed that it was just Norwich and now feel cheated.

Anonymous said...

Park and Ride Cash Cow. I am extremely anger at this. This is why Norfolk CC are a 4* council, because they milk the public and bus user (with few other travel choices) for entering Norwich. Norwich Park and Ride is a money spinner for Norfolk CC. Why don't they charge more for rural road use? This sabotages any good work Norwich CC does to move commuters from Car to Bus. This ia another case of where county and city don't work with two transport committees pulling in different direcions. The County should go!

If you are Band A in Norwich the County takes (daylight robbery) £701.40 of £948, whilst Norwich CC has to survive on £109.92.

If one is working with no kids in education this £701 is a tax for no services. Why aren't Norfolk 10 * on this?

""Norfolk County Council's cabinet will meet later this month to decide whether to increase the all-day ticket price from £3.20 to £3.30 at the sites at Norwich Airport, Costessey, Postwick, Sprowston, Harford Bridges and Thickthorn.

There are also plans to keep parking at the sites after 12.30pm Monday to Friday at £1.60 and reduce the cost of parking after 12.30pm on Saturday and Sunday from £3.20 to £1.60. Six-day flexi-tickets would increase from £15 to £16.50, annual tickets from £440 to £515, and business club 25 trip tickets from £46 to £49.50. Council officers have estimated the proposed fare changes would boost the authority's coffers by £54,000 in 2007/08 and £137, 350 for a full year.""

Roll on Unitary and culling layers of fat in councillors and duplicate services.