John Whitehouse

Retired County Councillor for Kenilworth Abbey Division Learn more

Tories fail to support start-up grants for small businesses

by John Whitehouse on 18 December, 2012

In a curious and rather ill-informed debate at Warwickshire County Council today, Conservative members used their block vote to defeat a proposal put by me on behalf of the Liberal Democrat group, to establish a £500,000 fund for start-up grants for small businesses.

We were debating how to spend a £3.5 million “windfall”, arising from a higher level of general reserves than required, and how to focus spending on projects that would best support the development of the local economy and create/protect jobs. The whole point was how best to spend money NOW, when it is most needed to help to stimulate greater growth.

Instead the Tories voted to hold back £1 million to provide further top-up to the Rural Business Broadband project that is already being rolled out, even though their own officers had told them that the EARLIEST any further top-up money might be required was 2015!

Common sense went out of the window I’m afraid. The Tory majority on the county council enjoy the power of their block vote majorityat the moment , and use it almost invariably to defeat any suggestions that opposition parties put forward – irrespective of the arguments for or against. However, with county council elections next May, they might have to start learning a new game fairly soon!

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