Greens use full council meeting to reaffirm call for in-house operation of leisure centre

23 March 2017

Green councillor, Chris Musgrave, has responded to last night’s extraordinary full council meeting to discuss the redevelopment of the bus station and new leisure complex:

“The Labour administration went to considerable efforts last night to avoid answering the more difficult questions. I've never heard, "I don't know" or "can't say" more times in one evening - this is not transparency.” 

Exeter Green Party support the location of the new leisure centre including plans to construct it to passivhaus standards. However, the Party has repeated calls for the centre to be run by the Council and not for private profit [1]. Cllr Musgrave probed Council leader Pete Edwards about contracting out the management of the pool [2]. He said:

“We heard from Labour that there isn't any political will to privatise council services. Examples were given of this but, where is this political will with reference to this leisure centre?

“Arguments that the council doesn’t have the necessary skills to run such a facility are easy to overcome as the appointment of new officers with bespoke skills has recently demonstrated”.

Cllr Musgrave also questioned the council on the absence of consultation with trade unions over the scheme. He said:

“We were told that the unions are yet to be consulted on the operation of the new leisure centre. However, the decision has already been taken. There will be no council bid. The claims that there has been full consultation are clearly not as robust they appear.”

Cllr Musgrave described opposition and questioning from the Conservatives as ‘lacklustre’:

“Yet again the opposition from the Tories was lacklustre and chaotic. With over 100 questions the best they could come up with was attacking the environmental credentials of this project. Only the Greens and the Lib Dems are offering real opposition on Exeter City Council”. 

He concluded: 

“I hope the administration does deliver this project. It will be, as has been said, a first-class construction that benefits the people of Exeter. Sadly however, this first-rate building will, if privatized, offer second rate terms and conditions for the workers delivering these benefits to our city. 

“I call again on the administration to use this delay to revisit their thinking on the in-house bid and address some of the many other matters I raised at this meeting.” 

Ends

Notes

[1] https://exeter.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/03/07/greens-call-for-the-new-leisure-centre-to-be-council-run-rather-than-lining-shareholders-pockets/

[2] http://www.devonlive.com/council-quizzed-over-exeter-bus-station/story-30218849-detail/story.html#cPdtpbvFsuI97IiF.99

Contact:

Councillor Chris Musgrave 07872 301974