Letter: Council budget address - battling to get wording of speech

Once councillor battled to obtain wording given at the council budget speech.
Once councillor battled to obtain wording given at the council budget speech.

The leader of the East Riding Council, Cllr Stephen Parnaby, delivered the Conservative Budget speech to full council on 9 February.

In the preamble, he mentioned a few points, giving a bit of background information to the decisions required to set the precept for 2017/18.

I have a hearing impairment and I missed a couple of points, for which I decided to seek clarification after the meeting. Two or three days later I asked the leader’s PA for the information I had missed.

It was not controversial and was obviously not confidential as it had been made in full council.

I did not request any explanation for what was said in council, solely the exact words he had used and I had missed.

It was refused with no explanation nor reason.

I therefore requested that he supplied me the wording under the Freedom of Information Act.

He refused to tell me and said he would not, as he described it as a personal statement from an individual councillor.

This is nonsense.

I should have been given the information without any issue being created, and secondly there is no way a leader’s budget speech can be described as a personal speech.

A personal speech, as in the case of Parliament, is when a member wishes to correct or clarify or apologise for something he or she may have said or done and wishes to make amends before the full house. I cannot understand what the leader’s problem is in supplying me with the information. I have been a councillor for nearly two years, and he has never once made any attempt to personally welcome me aboard the council.

Cllr David Robson

Bridlington South

*East Riding Council told the Free Press: “Cllr Parnaby responded to Cllr Robson on Tuesday 21 February to repeat the information he previously gave to all councillors on 9 February in the Council Chamber which is fitted with a hearing loop system for the benefit of any councillors who are hard of hearing.”