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Ward Improvement Fund - Continued...

September 19, 2001 12:00 AM

The Liberal Democrat Group on Bedford Borough Council has won a small victory that could make a big difference!

At last week's full council meeting in Bedford the Liberal Democrat Ward Improvement Fund proposal was voted through despite opposition from the ruling Labour group. Each Councillor in Bedford Borough will now receive a fund of £9,450 drawn from last year's savings.

Group Leader Michael Headley said; "Our initiative will allow non-executive councillors to make a tangible improvement in the everyday life of their wards. Councillors will be allowed to establish local priorities for small projects. The small pot of money to back it up will enable them to develop their community leadership muscles. We will be able to sort out some of those incredibly annoying 'little' problems that can become such a thorn in everybody's side. The problems that would never make it to the top of the council's corporate spending programme but always appear right at the top of residents hate lists."

Cllr Headley added "The winners were the people of Bedford Borough and the, all to nearly silenced, majority of non-executive councillors. In fact the only losers were the Labour chair of the Executive committee and her group." The initiative survived despite desperation tactics from the Labour Chair of the Executive Committee. "The ward improvement fund will be administered through a designated officer. Members will be free to allocate their money to the local issue that most needs it." Commented Michael Headley "Labour fought tooth and nail to stop this initiative. Just as they always do, with all of our good ideas. But on this occasion all of their friends deserted them. We have finally managed to loosen the Executive committees iron grip on Power in Bedford. Making the score in Bedford last week Control Freaks 0 - Democracy 1." The Fund was passed with a slim majority at the Executive meeting. But, after the call-in, it was carried through Full council by a massive vote of support from 'backbenchers'.