Opposition councillors in East Lindsey have hit out after a full council meeting was cancelled due to “lack of business” in the midst of the cost of living crisis.
Members were due to meet on Wednesday, July 20, but will now have to wait until October 12 – four months after the last meeting on May 12.
Leader of the Independent Group Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said it was more important than ever for councils to meet and criticised a lack of consultation with opposition members from Conservative ELDC Leader Councillor Craig Leyland.
She said there were scrutiny groups waiting to report findings to the council as well as questions around important topics.
She feared councillors were also missing out on important updates from leaders.
“We face great uncertainty ahead and we have thousands of vulnerable people living in our district who will need help and support to get through the winter,” she said.
“To be faced with having to choose between heating or eating, with increasing debt and inflation reaching levels unknown to this generation, it is more important than ever that councillors meet and discuss how to tackle this latest crisis.”
“Our health services in East Lindsey are struggling, we have very little police cover so crime is sadly going unreported, our infrastructure is coming apart at the seams – but [Councillor] Leyland feels there is insufficient business to make a meeting worthwhile.”
In a statement, Councillor Leyland said the decision had been made because the “only two agenda items scheduled for a decision were not time dependent”.
He said it “made practical sense” adding that he “encouraged members to actively take part in the democratic process.”
“While I accept some councillors are disappointed the meeting was cancelled, there is a need to balance the cost and time of running a meeting with the business decisions set to be undertaken.
“Consideration needs to be made about the value of asking 55 councillors and attendant officers to travel to a meeting where no decisions had to be made, given the cost of fuel and the impact on the environment.”
He said members were regularly updated and that scrutiny committees would still feed in continuously.
“This council continues to support its residents on a daily basis and is moving forward with projects which will reinvigorate communities and create new opportunities,” he added.
“Whilst democracy is vitally important, action is too and I look forward to Councillor Makinson-Sanders engaging fully in our endeavours.”