Update on the latest Full Council Meeting

October 2, 2018 1:19 PM
By Cllr Ruth Skelton

Special Educational Needs

Over the past 6 years when Labour ran Derby City Council there were serious problems for children with Special Educational Needs. Labour made cuts to schools' SEN funding, which meant that schools didn't have enough money to pay for the extra help and support that SEN children need. Schools then said they couldn't meet those children's needs.

I was disgusted to see Labour trying to score points with a motion about pupils being "off-rolled" i.e. being asked to leave or being expelled from schools. During Labour's time in charge off-rolling was happening to children with SEN - often leaving children with no suitable school place available within the city.

When Labour took control of the Council they inherited plans and money in the budget to build a new special school for autistic children. Labour scrapped these plans. Labour also closed down Castle Nursery which was skilled at providing for the needs of children with SEN.

When Liberal Democrat councillors made these points, Labour Cllr Sarah Russell, who had been in charge of education up until May 2018, responded with a loud, abusive tirade.

Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Ruth Skelton said, "Cllr Russell knew the facts weren't on her side, so instead tried to shout down Cllr Eric Ashburner and me. Her over-reaction says everything."

Antisemistism

Over the past year or more the issue of antisemitism has reared its ugly head in society. The Liberal Democrat councillors in Derby decided to call for the Council to agree to adopt in full the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, including the full list of examples. The motion also invited the city's three MPs to publicly do the same if they hadn't already done so. We were delighted to see it agreed unanimously.

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Liberal Democrats also proposed a motion about the fact that fixed odds betting terminals are to have the maximum stake reduced from £100 per spin down to £2 per spin. A few years ago Derby City Council agreed a motion to campaign for this to happen along with 92 other councils across the UK. The Council will be asking the Local Government Association to lobby Government to make sure that the changes happen early in 2019.

Sinfin Incinerator

There has been huge public interest in the Sinfin waste disposal plant over the summer, particularly because of the terrible smells and noise coming from it. Residents are quite rightly alarmed.

The whole issue was discussed at the Full Council meeting, although the discussion was very restricted due to a lot of the relevant information being commercially sensitive and therefore confidential.

Commenting, Cllr Eric Ashburner said, "This whole sorry mess dates back almost 20 years to when Labour had the site designated as being suitable for waste disposal and worked with the company Brightstar to bring a waste disposal plant to this site. Why did they think a site close to housing was suitable? I would never have accepted such a plant in my ward, and they shouldn't have accepted it in theirs."