Another meeting that went on too long. But with some interesting debates.
The Lib Dems refuse to accept what we are trying to do on Community Transport, even though it is the sort of project that is getting the support of the Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker. Of course with elections on 5th May, the Lib Dems will focus on cuts rather than the visionary efforts of the County Council to do better with less funding.
The biggest part of this was shown during a debate on the City Centre shuttle, a free bus service which we, as a Council, subsidise to the tune of £80k per year, something that just cannot be a priority given the excellent bus service within Cambridge and with the cuts being made elsewhere (but let's not forget the visionary stuff about creating an excellent Community Transport scheme).
Of course, as ever with the Lib Dems, there is an alternative reason. The motion to retain the subsidy for the City Centre shuttle for a year was their May 5th motion. The Lib Dems are concerned about a massacre in Cambridge City in the local elections on May 5th and this motion presented them with great material for leaflets. "Lib Dems win reprieve for City Shuttle" or a "nasty Tories" line. What they, of course, failed to do, was explain where the money was coming from - which would almost certainly have had to be from the funding set aside for the growth of community transport in rural areas.
Anyway - the whole Lib Dem group voted for this motion - including all of those that represent rural wards where we are looking to provide public transport. Remember this - the Lib Dems priority for these elections is protection of Cambridge City, which is already pretty well served by public transport. That is quite clearly at the expense of rural areas.
There was some good questions to me from both sides of the chamber about adoption services, EOTAS
and March Skills Centre, which I think I answered OK. But there were no questions about Academies. Given the criticism I have made
of the Lib Dems attitude in this area, this surprised me a bit. Maybe they have realised that their King Canute approach is, indeed, the wrong one.