I attended my first Full Council on Tuesday 27 June. It was very exciting and nice to see that the Conservatives won all the votes. I feel that Labour and the Lib Dems did not realise that they had not won the recent election and if they want to become more popular with the residents of Barnet have to learn some important lessons, such that people want high quality vaule for money services, but where possible also lower levels of Council Tax. I hope as a Councillor I will help to be able to achieve this.
At the meeting I made my maiden speech which I think went well and was supported by my fellow Conservative councillors. I spoke about why Barnet Council should not attempt to be awarded FairTrade Status until we can afford the extra cost or is funded by central government. The text of the speech can be seen below.
In addition I asked 2 questions.
1- In which I found out that none of Barnet's secondary schools are in special measures. This is excellent news and down to the staff of Barnet Council and the indiviudal schools in helping to improve the education facilities that the children of this borough receive.
2- I found out that Barnet has managed to reduced the number of road casualties in Barnet by 46% since the introduction of the policy to remove road humps. This should encourage critics such as the Mayor of London and others to apologise for the harsh critism of this policy and maybe they will even feel free to learn from this policy.
Below is the text of my speech speaking out against Labour's motion on FairTrade.
Speech Against Fair Trade Motion - 27 June 2006
Thank you Madam Mayor.
Before turning to the subject of this motion, as this is my maiden speech I would firstly like to pay tribute to my predecessor Councillor for Edgware Ward.
Before he stood down at the elections in May, Malcolm Lester had served Edgware Ward for 24 years and was seen as a distinguished councillor that always served his constituents well.
And I understand most importantly stood up when their democratic rights were being questioned.
I wish him well and many happy years in a hard-earned retirement
Madam Mayor, you might like to know that I was not even 2 years old, when Malcolm Lester was first elected a Councillor.
Although I’m a little older now…. I hope as a Councillor for Edgware I will continue to serve the area well together with my colleagues Councillor Hart and Councillor Scannell.
As a Councillor I will hope to ensure that this Council spends the money it raises from our residents in a wise and value for money way, which is why I am speaking against this motion and supporting the ammendment in the name of Cllr Freer.
Madam Mayor I would love to be able to support this motion, indeed the principles behind this motion are very valid.
As someone who has worked on a farm often in excessive heat, I know how difficult a job it is and why it should be valued.
In order to allow the development of some of the less developed countries in the world, producers should be able to get a fair price for what they sell.
I would go further though, arguing for proper free trade around the world and the reduction in trade barriers such as the European CAP that will allow these farmers and other producers to get a fair price for what they sell.
Therefore, it is important for all of us as individuals to support the Fairtrade campaign.
However, I can't support this motion proposed by the opposition and would urge Members to support the amendment in the name of Cllr Freer.
I do not see how as a responsible Council that is committed to providing high-quality front-line services for our residents we can support this motion that would require recruiting an extra member of staff.
And result in tens of thousands of extra pounds in costs for the Council year on year.
Let me ask those members who were thinking of supporting this motion.
While being a responsible Council and having a balanced budget, where would they sooner the money go?
Would they want a fair-trade employee to replace a librarian?
Would they want a fair-trade employee to replace street cleaners?
Or would they want a fair-trade employee to replace a teacher?
I know where I want our resident's hard-earned Council tax to go.
Turning to the Liberal Democrat ammendment which I also urge members to oppose. There is no point in the Cabinet waisting resources researching the value of achieving Fairtrade status, until we know the Council can afford it.
This will not be possible until the Labour Government gives Barnet a fair deal.
This Council has scarce resources and whilst that continues to be the case, we should be continuing to prioritise front-line services.
As long as Barnet continues to be under funded by the Labour Government, I am afraid this will continue to be the case.
I therefore urge members to support the amendment proposed by Cllr Freer, so that this Council will only campaign to be awarded Fairtrade status when the necessary resources are made available from central Government.