‘Con-UKIP budget to ‘blow’ ASDA Windfall’ say opposition councillors

Opposition councillors say the Conservative-UKIP plans for the ASDA money are “an insult to hard working Islanders who are having their Council Tax put up while paying for running machines and new desks”.

asda saving money lorry

Julia Baker Smith shares this latest news from the Island Independent group of councillors, with comment from Labour Cllr Geoff Lumley. Ed

Just four weeks after the Conservative-UKIP takeover of County Hall they have agreed to “blow” the fabled “Asda” windfall of £17 million.

The money, which the Full Council had democratically agreed last October under the Independent administration to keep intact for a rainy day, has now been included in the capital programme, with no agreement from the full council as to how it would be spent.

A cross party working group, which was chaired by Labour’s Geoff Lumley, but included members from all political groups, undertook a significant piece of work last year to look at how the windfall money could be best used to support the future needs of the Island.

Baker-Smith: ASDA money to be “frittered away”
Cllr Julia Baker-Smith, Leader of the Island Independents said:

“The full Council met last October to agree the Medium Term Financial Strategy. This is the financial plan for the next five years.

“We all agreed that the Asda money should be left intact for a rainy day, however now it is raining, it’s raining huge cuts to adult social care, children’s services and other valued services used by Islanders proposed by the Con-UKIP so called Care-Takers.

“A small amount of the Asda money could buy us some time this year to keep services running while the Council gets back on its feet following years of central government austerity, yet now we are told that money is to be frittered away on frivolous things like refurbishing county hall and gym equipment!”

Lumley: “An insult to hard working Islanders”
Labour’s Geoff Lumley added:

“I led a working party to look at the responsible use of this money and made a clear recommendation last year.

“To now find out that the Con-UKIP temporary administration have come in and unilaterally decided to spend our windfall, money that could protect Islanders from the effects of the Tory Government cuts, once again shows the complete lack of regard the Tory’s have for the democratic process on this Island.

“This is quite frankly an insult to hard working Islanders who are having their Council Tax put up while paying for running machines and new desks.”

The Budget Paper
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Isle of Wight Council Budget Proposal Feb 2017 Paper B by OnTheWightNews on Scribd

Image: duncanholmes under CC BY 2.0

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Thursday, 16th February, 2017 11:13am


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  1. fedupbritain

    16.Feb.2017 12:32pm

    bit rich (geddit) from geoff lumley a bloke who took early pension on health grounds yet is still able to perform functions as hard working councillor. either you are too sick to work or you are not

  2. Geoff Lumley

    16.Feb.2017 12:56pm

    Let me correct ‘fedupbritain’s scurrilous and cowardly remarks about my personal circumstances.

    In 2013 at the age of 56 I retired early from my employment, as I was entitled to. I took the earned pension I was entitled to, though it was drastically reduced from what I would have got at the scheme’s normal pension age of 60. There was no assessment of my health involved and I did not ask for one. Retiring early was a scheme option.

    I took the decision with my partner that my health would suffer if I continued working at both my employment and my councillor responsibilities. I had been working 60 plus hours per week and as a newly-diagnosed epileptic continuing in both roles was clearly going to damage my health further.

    Since then I have been able to manage my epilepsy better as well as function as an effective councillor, doing about 30 hours per week.

    Perhaps ‘fedupbritain’ would have the courtesy of making himself known to me if he wishes to cast aspersions about my circumstances in the future.

    • East Cowes

      17.Feb.2017 11:02am

      Hear, hear, Geoff!

      And regarding the “either you can work or you can’t” type comment, that is untrue. The Disability community has been fighting for more flexible arrangements, so for people who have a disability that prevents them from being able to do a full-time job but can work either part-time or as they can, they want to be contributing members of society, doing something meaningful.

      fedupbritain’s callous and disgusting remarks reek of a severe lack of compassion or understanding of what it is really like to have a disabling condition like epilepsy, invasive autoimmune diseases attacking organs that you cannot see from the outside etc. – all of which can be made much worse by stress and other environmental triggers if one pushes oneself. All I can say to him/her is to “grow up” and learn about the real world and people with real challenges, especially chronic diseases and conditions that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

  3. Rod Manley

    16.Feb.2017 1:19pm

    To say that this is a Conservative/UKIP council is misleading and is anti-conscious. The reality is that this is a Government council that has staged a coup against civil authority in the interests of the private sector.

    The frittering away of ASDA money is theft in order to fill the pockets of private contractors and providers.

    The local Conservatives eyes began to roll and mouths salivate, as the till registers rang out over sale of a public asset to Walmart.They knew well that their sticky hands would be on it soon.

    Yet this is the policy of the national government to sell assets and to convert local authority away from community and into the control of business.These are the new arrangements for local government.

    The tiny UKIP representation is irrelevant in this case and only serves the useless mind numbing electioneering process.

    What would be better is a system of selection of candidates and a proper selection where people are engaged rather than this so called “left/right” bickering that serves no purpose other than to uphold an anachronistic status quo.

    The vote in May could be used to upset the government plans for local government by voting out the Conservatives and in new candidates, who will upset their anti-democratic arrangements.

    This would be the best approach to the elections rather than posing the old method of representative democracy with “choices” between “left and right” candidates.

  4. fedupbritain

    16.Feb.2017 2:04pm

    There is nothing scurrilous about my comments regarding Geoff Lumley. He chose to take early retirement on medical grounds and takes the claim to be a hard working councillor. This is not in doubt. Councillor allowance is £8,000. Tops up the pension nicely

    • Hang on – there was no medical assessment, it was his own assessment, as he stated above.

      I have little enthusiasm for Geoff’s politics, but your comments are basically libellous.

    • Sally Perry

      16.Feb.2017 2:16pm

      @ fedupbritain – In normal circumstances your first comment would have been removed because the subject of Cllr Lumley’s personal situation is not open to debate.

      I allowed it to remain because Geoff had replied and set the record straight.

      The discussion needs to end there.

    • Geoff Lumley

      16.Feb.2017 2:19pm

      Your remarks remain scurrilous and entirely cowardly. If you think you have any evidence to support your remarks, have the guts to tell me who you are so that I can take advice to stop your libel. If not, then please shut up.

    • Luisa Hillard

      16.Feb.2017 11:05pm

      fedupbritain – I get the impression that you are trying to insinuate that Cllr Lumley is somehow faking disability with your “he’s either too sick to work or not.” Your comments are clearly out of order and defamatory.

  5. barbara penman

    16.Feb.2017 3:14pm

    Thousands of pounds have just been spent on updating the two main Leisure Centres on the Island, the Newport centre was perfectly good enough as it had only been refurbished a few years ago. Why do Councillors and the work staff in the County hall not use these perfectly adequate centres, or are they just too posh to mix with the common people.

  6. This “frittering away” to which Cllr B-S refers is presumably different to the “frittering away” of millions of pounds of reserves which the Independents did in 2014-15, rather than set a balanced budget based on future revenue streams?

  7. So the interesting bit is Appendix D.

    Adding up the items for County Hall and Sandown would be about £1.8million on refurbishment, of which nearly half is on new desks? And a few new laptops?

    And you want us to pay 5% more council tax?

  8. After using public money to buy gym equipment they could at least apopt a pricing structure that does not alienate the majority of residents. Advertising ‘less than a pound a day’ may appeal to gym bunnies using both the gym and the classes every day. I would use it if their was a viable multi-day option, but the last time I looked, if I read it correctly, it would cost me about five times that price. Can we have an option for more people to use please?

  9. okayanyway

    16.Feb.2017 6:50pm

    Cllr Baker-Smith and her crew spent over 3 million on a floating bridge, that has come out of the ASDA money.

    This is electioneering by Cllr baker-smith at it’s very worst.

    • pahahahahahahah

      16.Feb.2017 7:44pm

      Yeah… you’re seriously comparing the floating bridge, which was falling to bits and is an essential transport link between west and east cowes… to new desks and running machines?

      Paint the old desks if they really need it, replace gym equipment as needed out of profits from the leisure centres, and stop trying to pull a political fast one.

      David Pugh replaced gym equipment whilst the roads fell apart and education nosedived.

      Dave Stewart is proposing to rebuild the undercliff with research from Prof Denness – but cant tell anyone where the money is coming from, and accuses the indys of doing nothing – yet fails to mention that nothing could be done until the land stabilises.
      He is proposing to make every school good – yet the vast majority are ALREADY on their way to being good due to the hard work of teachers – nothing to do with the IOW cons, or the Hampshire cons who were forced to take education over after Pughs disastrous meddling.
      Stewart is proposing that Island Roads be allowed to use cheaper materials to save money – yet Eddie Giles told us that the PFI was free money, all coming from government grants. Why do we need to save council money there then? Oh yeah, thats right, because the cons lied to our faces.

      Con Con Con. You want electioneering – try the truth on for size.

    • steve stubbings

      16.Feb.2017 7:50pm

      The replacement floating bridge didn’t come out of the Asda money.

    • okayanyway:

      Far, far from reality and completely and utterly mistaken.

      The floating bridge was funded thanks to Cllr Ian Stephens, Leader of the Independent Group at the time, who managed to get SLEP funding for it… after having listened to the previous conservative administration tell *us* (that is, the residents of this Island) that they had set aside the money to replace the (then) ‘at end of life’ floating bridge… in the run up to the 2013 elections!

      In reality, they set nothing aside and we can only wonder what outcome we would have had if Cllr Stephens had not had the experience and capability to persuade the SLEP that this Island needed and should receive the funding to pay for it.

      So, no money from Asda whatsoever for this and a bit of a success story for the Independents actually.

    • Luisa Hillard

      16.Feb.2017 11:09pm

      okayanyway, it’s that kind of comment that shows you to be poorly informed. The Council did not use Asda money, or even Council Tax money to buy the Floating Bridge. It is being paid for using a grant from the Solent LEP.

      As I expect others will say, this grant (at no cost to the Council) was secured by Cllr Ian Stephens when he was Leader.

      So who are you electioneering for?

  10. The only reason the Con UKIP administration is running the council is because your independent leader and deputy leader resigned,then one stayed away from the full council to elect a replacement and the other failed to vote for the independent group’s proposed replacement leader.
    Many of us gave your group, with the grand promises and claims,a chance four years ago.
    It didn’t work. Your promises didn’t hold true. Never mind the difficult job of managing budget cuts. You turned into a plethora of individuals and small groups who couldn’t work together as you promised at that election.
    Please stop treating us as though we are thick.
    It’s the Independents’ fault that they are running the show and putting these plans forward.
    It’s time you ate a good slice of humble pie.

    • steve stubbings

      16.Feb.2017 10:13pm

      If you could add up you’d know that it made no difference whatsoever that ‘one stayed away from full council or that the other failed to vote for the Independent group’s proposed replacement leader’. The Con-Ukip alliance have had the numbers in the bag since they negotiated their pact.

      • Alan Price

        17.Feb.2017 8:42am


        Surely you must understand that there must be a reason that your numbers have dwindled in the last couple of years? There must surely be some strange goings on behind the scenes at Independents HQ?

        Regards your proposed replacement leader, again you must surely understand the ‘con-alliance’ could not support someone who has been leader before and gave this up to pursue a failed campaign in national politics?

    • Luisa Hillard

      16.Feb.2017 11:13pm

      Ed, Steve is right – even if all Independent group members had been there and voted we did not have enough to win against the Alliance of Cons/UKIP/IMG. The truth is that they’ve been out-voting us in Full Council for at least a year before they formalised their pact.

      • You’re conveniently avoiding the point. You’re outvoted because your group of Island Independents has collapsed.
        Stop blaming others for your failure as a group to act as the cohesive force you campaigned as, and on the promise of which many of us lent you our votes

        • Luisa Hillard

          18.Feb.2017 12:26am

          If I recall correctly our ‘cohesive force’ had 15 members. Then,immediately after the election we then invited other independents to join with us and got up to 19, which was enough to form an administration, although never a majority one.

          However, those who defected were never campaigning members of our group. They were not part of the cohesive force – they were always campaigning just for themselves – the Shanklin two, Bob and his Sandown Independents Party, and Charles Chapman.

          That the Shanklin two tried to help the Conservatives to take control of the Council previously is why they were fired from the Executive and then resigned from the group.

          The original group therefore remains intact, with the exception of our member who recently passed away. We have about 15 members.

          So again, let me remind you, that we never held the majority and that the opposition formed an alliance with the power to outvote us at least a year ago.

          Cons have 13-ish official members, UKIP 2, and the IMG 5. That’s 20 plus the casting vote.

          • steve stubbings

            18.Feb.2017 7:45am

            There are 14 official Conservatives, aren’t there? The alliance has a majority without using the inept chairman’s casting vote.
            Gilbey wasn’t sacked from the executive, only Priest was.

          • Good riddance to the lot of you.If you are going to keep this up.

          • Alan Price

            18.Feb.2017 5:33pm

            Priest was only sacked after he highlighted the tampering of a council capital paper that conveniently benefited a project in your ward, isn’t that correct Steve? The project that to this day hasn’t actually been completed and has had a lot of money chucked at it?

          • steve stubbings

            18.Feb.2017 8:40pm

            No, Alan.
            That’s not correct.
            Not that it will make a jot of difference to you.

          • Alan Price

            18.Feb.2017 11:23pm

            Please correct me then Steve….

          • steve stubbings

            19.Feb.2017 12:45pm

            You keep leaving the barrel on my doorstep, Alan, and I’ll keep shooting fish in it:
            Richard Priest was sacked from the executive in the Autumn of 2014 for a failed coup. If you require corroboration, I suggest that you contact Ian Stephens, the man who sacked him.
            Whilst I welcome any opportunity to discuss this matter on OTW (much like the curious, so far unexplained incident of Whitehouse posting as somebody else) I think this is probably going to be the last time I spell it out for you.

          • Trumping on

            Your Island Independents remain a well oiled machine…

            Keep ‘living the dream’ !

          • Alan Price

            20.Feb.2017 9:26am

            Steve thank you for answering my comment again, although the same old false claim is getting a bit boring!

            In unrelated news I have recently finished writing a press realease for my new invention, I have created the first dog drivable train, the first trip will be done between Marylebone and Barking, but like Steve I won’t supply any of you with any substantive evidence to support my claim, I will just ask the people to ‘trust me’.

            Wow careful there Steve that last paragraph sounds suspiciously like you are accusing me of posting under an alias, I hope you have some actual evidence to back up your claim? If not please don’t tar me with the same brush….

          • Alan Price

            20.Feb.2017 2:40pm

            Steve thank you for answering my comment again, although the same old false claim is getting a bit boring!

            In unrelated news I have recently finished writing a press realease for my new invention, I have created the first dog drivable train, the first trip will be done between Marylebone and Barking, but like Steve I won’t supply any of you with any substantive evidence to support my claim, I will just ask the people to ‘trust me’.

            Wow careful there Steve that last paragraph sounds suspiciously like you are accusing me of posting under an alias, I hope you have some actual evidence to back up your claim? If not please don’t tar me with the same brush….

        • Alan Price

          18.Feb.2017 5:36pm

          And if the ‘4 IMG Cllrs/defectors’ never actually campaigned as part of the independents group then why were you all surprised that they were so quick to part company with you?

  11. Typical Tory and right of them UKIP, what idiots vote for them?

  12. How can they even think about refurbishing county hall at a time like this? It is insulting, they are actually considering cutting personal budgets for people with learning disabilities, direct payments to the physically disabled, and children’s services, the they come out with this? The mind boggles.

  13. richardshanklinite

    17.Feb.2017 12:29am

    Had the council spent some capital on getting rid of the old properties at the rear of the Spar car park they mat well have covered the cost in additional car parking fees last year and this year would be a bonus. This would also mean that some more visitors would get out of their car and spend some money in Shanklin although it seems the council just want everything centralised in Newport which is best avoided now due to the chaotic road system.

  14. Rod Manley

    17.Feb.2017 12:47am

    It was never a “chance” that was given to the Independents.It wasn’t even a gift. It was the end of a process that dumped the monotonous repetition of the status quo parties. In this case it was Pugh and his Tories.

    They think it is their right to power by default.

    They never gave up but they saw their “chance” and have finally taken it.

    Humble Pie? Well one thing is for sure you’ll never see a Tory eat it.

    There is no Conservative/UKIP Alliance, only a Conservative arbitrary Government with a subservient set of quislings in the local administration with one intention, to control and never to relinquish that seizure of power easily.

    To bestow the honour to UKIP is to credit them with too much Kudos, something far beyond what they could achieve with the calibre of their representation as it has been on this island.

    We deserve better. The Indies are gone. It is time for a new selection of candidates in all of these elections.If you look the trust has gone with all of the old style politicians.

  15. When you’ve all finished taking pot shots at each other maybe we can get back to the topic – the ASDA ‘windfall’ – hahahaha
    this money needs to be kept to support all of the folk, all of the businesses, who are going to be adversely impacted, thrown out of work, by this store opening on the island.
    why oh why do people fall for it, why are ASDA prepared to pay this money – to make money of course, and from whom? We will not spend any more than we do now, so where on earth do you think their takings are going to come from? Other existing businesses of course.

    Where is the IWC duty of care? Windfall? if it was not so serious it truly would make me laugh…

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