COUNCILLOR WATCH: Combatting cuts in the fire service, football subsidies, and child exploitation
We don’t hear as much as we used to from our elected representatives but both Cllr Dexter Smith and Cllr Avtar Cheema have been in the news recently, along with Colnbrook’s de facto third councillor, Cllr Madhuri Bedi, who represents Foxborough. Here’s what they’ve all been up to …
Colnbrook’s Labour representative on Slough Borough Council, Cllr Avtar Cheema (Labour), met with new Slough MP Tan Dhesi, and fellow councillors Atiq Sandhu and Mohammed Rasib, all representatives on the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, on Friday 20th October. They discuss the pressures facing the fire service and how to combat further cuts.
The Fire Authority, which comprises 25 local councillors appointed by Berkshire’s six unitary authorities, is responsible for setting the Fire and Rescue Service operating budget and determining how the service is managed. Mr Dhesi, getting up to speed quickly with local matters having just made the move from Kent, featured the meeting on his Facebook page.
Cllr Cheema, who is also a member of the Licensing Committee, has managed an 82% attendance rate at Council and committee meetings in her current term of office in May 2014.
Cllr Dexter Smith (Conservative) attended a meeting of Slough’s Cabinet on Monday 16th October, during which community uses for the new Arbour Park Community Stadium were discussed. He questioned Slough Town FC’s discounted rate of £15,000 per season for using the new stadium, and insisted that Slough Borough Council’s previous leadership had been clear that there would be no council subsidies to the club.
“I don’t think it’s operating or proposed to operate in the way councillors were told it was going to.”
Cllr Dexter Smith, who sits on the Planning Committee, has managed an 88% attendance rate since his latest term of office began in May 2015.
Brands Hill resident Cllr Madhuri Bedi, ward councillor for Foxborough, has had a good month. She was cited in the Boundary Commission’s analysis of submissions on the proposed move of Chalvey to Windsor, featured elsewhere on Colnbrook Views. She has also given the opportunity to defend the work of the Council in protecting Slough’s children from sexual exploitation and trafficking in responding to a question from former councillor Steve Gillingwater in the last meeting of the full Council. She gave a detailed update on the work of the Child Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking Sub-Group, which meets every 6 weeks, and the Slough Safer Partnership which has commissioned independent research to look into the scope of CSE prevalence in Slough.
At the same meeting Cllr Bedi was also successful in proposing a motion under the ‘Rule 14’ procedure calling on the Government “to pause the full implementation of Universal Credit until our concerns about Slough families being pushed into a spiral of debt are addressed”. The motion was seconded by leader of the council Cllr Munawar and passed.
Cllr Bedi, who is also a member of Cabinet and the Employent & Appeals Committee, has managed an 98% attendance rate at Council and committee meetings since her current term of office began in May 2016.