Council leader to face second no confidence vote

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council

The leader of West Sussex County Council is to face another call for a vote of no confidence in her abilities - and this time members of the cabinet will be in the firing line as well.

Louise Goldsmith said she was ‘devastated’ after the last such call on June 7, which came after the council received a disastrous report into its children’s services.

Now, with a hugely critical report into the Fire & Rescue Service added to the pile of bad news, Labour councillor Michael Jones has tabled a notice of motion saying it had become ‘unsustainable for this council to have confidence in a leader and cabinet who have presided over such an outcome’.

As well as asking for the council to agree that it had ‘no confidence in the leader and cabinet’, the notice made a number of suggestions regarding the fire service.

They included calling for all fire service budget cuts proposed for 2019/20 to be withdrawn completely and for priority to be given to recruiting firefighters to replace those cut since 2010 - a figure the Fire Brigades Union said was 305.

It asked for a review led by an independent person to be carried out to determine whether alternative arrangements should be made for the governance of the fire service.

And it called on the council to ‘stop prevaricating’ about the funding received by the fire service and to ‘finally press the government for urgent additional funding to properly resource the very stretched service’.

The meeting will be held on Friday July 19 at County Hall, Chichester, at 10.30am. Members of the public are welcome to attend and the meeting will be webcast via westsussex.public-i.tv .