9th November 2019

Isle of Wight Labour has welcomed a U-turn by the Isle of Wight Council on its plans to dramatically cut the number of roads gritted during icy weather.
 
Last month, the council announced that 30 roads would no longer be gritted in a bid to cut costs. But after pressure from Island Labour, the Tory authority has back-tracked and announced that no routes will be lost after all.
 
Labour’s candidate in the General Election, Richard Quigley, said:

“Naturally we are pleased the council now admits this would have been a step too far: this would have left some of our communities isolated and increased the danger of road traffic accidents.
 
“This Council doesn’t seem to learn. Constantly making decisions on the hoof, without a proper plan or considering the consequences of its constant cost cutting.
 
“First it announced that CCTV coverage was to be cut, only to back-track soon after. Now, just weeks after announcing major reductions to the gritting routes, the Tory council is again forced to reconsider in just a matter of days.
 
“It appears to be learning slowly and the hard way that cuts identified by a highly-paid consultant look very different on a spreadsheet than they do in the real world.
 
“This Tory council claims to be good with the purse strings, yet it is paying a consultant £16,000 a month to identify cuts. It then decides his recommendations are flawed. The council really would be better off spending money not on ignoring expensive consultants but on providing the services upon which people rely.
 
“The council might also reflect that humiliating climbdowns like this could be avoided if – in the absence of effective member scrutiny – it was upfront about cuts when it sets its annual budget or if it consulted with those people and communities affected before it wielded the axe.”