The motion to try and secure ‘Assisted Area Status’ for the Island was supported by every Councillor present at the latest full council meeting.
The proposal was put forward by Cllr Geoff Lumley and proposed by Cllr David Pugh, with both Cllr George Brown and Cllr Vanessa Churchman eager to second it.
The adoption by Cllr Pugh
By the time the motion was reached in the agenda, Cllr Lumley had left enraged.
Cllr Pugh said, “I would like to propose Cllr’s Lumley’s motion in his absence and ask Cllr Brown to second it.”
As it is unusual for the seconder to be named, Cllr Vanessa Churchman raised a point of order, “Normally you ask for a seconder.”
“Well I did ask for a seconder,” Cllr Pugh replied.
“No, you announced the seconder. I wished to second the motion,” said Cllr Churchman.
The matter was referred to the Monitoring Officer, Davina Fiore, who said, “I don’t think it matters whether a seconder is asked for or if a seconder is already in mind.
“I really don’t think it’s an important issue.”
Finding a balance
Cllr Churchman explained that she raised the point because the motion was put forward by a Labour Councillor, proposed by a Conservative Councillor and, as an Independent Councillor, she would have liked to second the motion.
She said, “It would have given the impression that as a council we support this wholeheartedly.”
What was the motion?
Cllr Brown seconded the motion, he said: “Members may be surprised that I support what was originally Cllr Lumley’s motion.
“Should the Isle of Wight achieve ‘Assisted Area Status’, companies locating to or expanding on the Island could benefit from national or regional aid.”
An assisted area receives money from the government or EU to help create jobs and improve conditions.
The Council will do everything it can to secure the status
The meeting’s agenda read, “In the light of the continuing and longstanding economic problems of the Island, including 3,000 plus unemployed, of which 1,200 are young people, Council resolves to do everything that it can within the agreed budget and policy framework (and involving all interested parties) to secure ‘Assisted Area Status’, or similar, for the Isle of Wight.”
Cllr Ian Stephens said: “This is very, very important to the Island.”
The motion was passed with 28 in favour, none against and none abstaining.
A representative from Ryde’s Trades Council told VB that they had arrived at the meeting and became worried about the motion once Cllr Lumley had left the meeting, they were, “amazed to observe that in his absence Councillor Leader and Tory, David Pugh, decided to move the motion himself and was supported by the entire Council!”