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Did Labour lose us the RUH Hopper?

February 20, 2016 9:22 PM

A message from Cllr Jeff Osborn....

"On Friday 12th February Wiltshire Scrutiny Committee debated a Call In motion submitted by twelve councillors against the axing of the vital RUH Hopper bus service. After pleas from Hopper users to keep the service going, the case was made by Independent and Lib Dem members to use the Call In to get Cabinet member, Philip Whitehead, to reconsider his decision to cease its funding. A lively debate ensued. The Cabinet member and Conservative councillors argued that the Call In should not be supported and Hopper funding should cease.

Then it went to the vote. This split 8 against the Call In - that is, to cease funding - and 6 for the Call in - that is, to have the decision reconsidered and funding possibly re-instated. The voting was on party lines. The 8 for ceasing funding were 7 Conservative plus one Labour. The 6 for backing the Call In were 4 Lib Dem and 2 Independent. However, it is more complex. For the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee backed the Call In. This meant that if the Labour member, John Walsh, had backed the Call In, the vote would have been 7 against and 7 for. Hence it would have followed that the Chairman would have had the casting vote and he would have been extremely likely to use it to support the Call In as he did initially.

Therefore the conclusion can sensibly be drawn that Labour member John Walsh by voting with the Conservatives caused local people to lose their vital RUH Hopper service which ensures they can safely access the RUH Bath for their appointments. Now that it has ceased many will find it extremely difficult and expensive to get there. This foolish vote by a Labour councillor has enabled yet another aspect of Conservative austerity to be imposed on local people.

We really have to ask just whose side Labour are on at County Hall with such short sighted voting behaviour. Not that of the ordinary people it would seem."