Councillors representing deprived wards missed off invitation list for Rotherham cost of living summit

INDEPENDENT and opposition members were missed off the invitation list as Rotherham Council held a cost of living summit.

There was a call for the event to be postponed in light of the error and to allow everyone to attend last Thursday — but this was dismissed by RMBC.

While most members received invites weeks ago, Cllrs Tracey Wilson and Michael Bennett-Sylvester (independent) and Cllrs Rob Elliott and Ian Jones (Rotherham Democratic Party) were only notified the day before.

Three of the four overlooked councillors represent some of the most deprived wards, which are seeing greater challenges relating to energy and finances.

Cllr Bennett-Sylvester said: “It effectively excluded members whose wards have severe issues regards the cost of living crisis and have shown an active history in questioning this council’s record on the matter.

“It simply isn’t good enough for us to be circulated details of discussions after the event especially given that we don’t just represent but live among a greater proportion of those affected by the cost of living crisis than the average councillor.”

An RMBC spokesperson said: “On November 30, 2022, the council passed a motion to ‘hold a cost of living emergency summit with relevant local partners and stakeholders, including the food crisis partnerships to explore how more local help can be provided for those struggling with the cost of living’.

“The council delivered this commitment on March 30, 2023, where the approach was to offer places at the summit through the group leaders and to the independent councillors.

“However, due to an administrative error, some invites were delayed. When this was identified, the invites were sent and personal apologies provided.

“The event was well received by local stakeholders, voluntary and community partners, and feedback from the event will be reported back to all members once it has been collated.”

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