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Opposition leader at South Kesteven District Council says people are asking him about the ‘chaos’ around leisure services and bin collections

When you see two people arguing in the street, it is never immediately obvious which one is in the right, writes Councillor Graham Jeal, opposition leader at South Kesteven District Council.

Who has the time to understand the details of petty arguments that distract us? I often think that this is how most people view “discussions” in South Kesteven District Council. The only difference is you can put your head down and walk by the street screamers, at the Council such “discussions” inevitably end up costing you money.

There was a complete change in tone at the last week’s full council meeting. In the evening before the meeting, one member of the Rainbow Alliance of old Labour and various independents wrote to all councillors implying that certain MPs are “proto fascist” and “racist”. Earlier in January, a councillor urged the new leadership to “tax the life out of me”. An opinion I have never heard from a member of the public.

Coun Graham Jeal
Coun Graham Jeal

In contrast, several members of the public contacted me for an explanation as to what has happened to our leisure services since November or the constant chaos around bin collections referenced in numerous BBC reports.

Several councillors spoke to me in confidence about rising levels of intimidation among members of the ruling administration in what appears to be a 1970s closed shop hard left trade union vibe. Even officers of the council have reached out to me to describe how low employee morale is. Change is often bad for morale especially with inexperienced new councillors roaming the corridors of the council throwing around accusations.

It is difficult to keep up with council spending commitments. £8 million on a new depot; well over £200k on bail outs for our leisure centres; £800k more on the depot; £300k on climate change projects; £850k on a community group grant for the Deepings; £0 on cleaning the A1. Whilst barely a week goes by without a 6 figure funding request, we are presently discussing next year’s council budget.

We suggested easing the pressure on households and freezing the headline cost of green bins - like what they have done at North Kesteven District Council. There is a huge inflation busting increase for subsequent green bins and money could be found by saving the thousands of pounds spent on consultants, catering (??!) and conference attendances.

You can give your opinion to the budget of South Kesteven by responding to the consultation - https://t.ly/lK2QI - or you can put your head down, walk on by and await the council tax bill.

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