News Snippets From Wally Westley
Among the “gems” of the “Conservatives news from Aughton, Downholland & Altcar” is a claim that “Conservatives Want Fewer Councillors & Elections”.
Oh dear. We’ve been here a long time ago, in 2010, to be precise. That was a time when Cllr Westley was the old version of the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, known as “Spreadsheet Phil”. We had “Spreadsheet Wally”. The questions of the day included potential exit costs of £1.477m arising from staff redundancies while pensioners could lose their travel concession.
We also had the mind blowing logic on taxes from Cllr May Blake that “It is not funded by the taxpayer other than all taxes are drawn ultimately from taxpayers”…one for posterity?
Anyway, I asked Wally some questions
in 2010 about the need for 54 councillors, and below are the precise records of emails of the exchanges.
15 August 2010 Email to Cllr D Westley cc to Kim Webber, Ian Grant, Cllr. “Why do we need 54 councillors? Surely we could get rid of about one third of them with a little judicious thought? That would lead to a smaller council, a smaller cabinet (less expenses) and a smaller administration, smaller salaries for the highly paid senior staff who would have less responsibility, smaller premises and the sale of some of the capital assets we own?”
16 August 2010 from Westley David “The number of Borough Councillors is set by the Government and the Boundary Commission. My personal view is that there are too many and that the number could be reduced by 50%”. [Even more drastic than my one third!]
16 August 2010 Email to Cllr D Westley “As for the number of councillors, why don’t you instigate a review of WLBC with the Boundary Commission? Perhaps the county might be trimmed down too?
16 August 2010 from Westley David “There are 84 County Councillors representing the 1.1 million people in Lancashire or another way there are 8 County Councillors covering the 108k people in West Lancashire. The County’s annual budget is a massive £1.4billion and the Councillors are very busy people.
“I would not want to waste money on a Boundary Commission Review or the resultant election. There are far more important matters and it would only be an unnecessary distraction. Besides there are other related issues such as West Lancs having only one election every 4 years rather than the 3 current in place or sorting out the anomaly of wards having 1, 2 or 3 councillors. Halsall Ward has a single councillor and the electorate vote twice in a 4 year cycle i.e. once for LCC & once for WLBC. Aughton & Downholland Ward has three councillors and you vote every year i.e. the first 2 years have borough elections followed by a county election and then another borough election”.
Just to be sure of the sheer lunacy of the policy Westley now claims for 2019, which he could have augmented when in office in 2010, we council tax payers have continued to fund 50% more per annum for the costs of the elected members than he actually proposed. And he of all people mentions in his reasoning that “West Lancashire Borough Council would save at least £150,000 a year and help the Council fund important frontline services”.
To which WE might ask, what services would £1,350,000 have funded over those 9 years? Westley took two days in 2010 to argue for and against elected member reductions. What will come next? Another unnecessary distraction?