LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Queues outside pawnbrokers are a stain on all councillors and MPs

IN her letter “Elected to concentrate on local, not national issues” Cllr Tracey Wilson (attendance at meetings 55.9 per cent since being elected) makes reference to her Conservative group bringing the matter of the tree service to the council in a motion moved by her ward colleague Cllr Tim Baum-Dixon (65.6pc attendance).

Two points for electors in Anston and Woodsetts, you seem to keep electing councillors who don’t turn up to meetings and secondly for those who have concerns about the tree service this, as has previously been mentioned in these pages, was reviewed at the April meeting of the council’s Improving Places Select Commission where the Conservatives had a mere 20pm attendance and, despite having the ability to raise the issues in Cllr Wilson’s letter, chose not to do so.

Now we don’t see eye to eye on much but my ward colleague Cllr Baker-Rogers (93.2pc attendance) was right to be bemused at you bringing a motion to do something you could have done just a few weeks prior.

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Now this Tory grandstanding while not doing the work has extended to Alexander Stafford MP.

The queues outside pawnbrokers last week are a stain on all 59 of us councillors, our three MPs and our voluntary sector as none of us had the understanding of how desperate people in our communities live their lives to be able to even contemplate the queues we saw.

Mr Stafford on his Facebook page, rather than acknowledging what should be a collective shame, chose to do the “my dad is bigger than your dad” politics, blaming the Labour group alone for what happened and for poorly administering the rebate scheme overall.

As councillors we have the opportunity for ten minutes to question the council leader, Cllr Chris Read (80.1pc attendance) at each meeting relating to matters in his statement. At the April meeting he raised the matter of the rebate scheme and while he got a question off me on buses he didn’t get a question on anything at all off the Conservatives.

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As councillors we can question at full council minutes of the cabinet and the April meeting included the cabinet meeting where the rebate decision was made. One Conservative Cllr Simon Ball (80pc attendance) did raise a question on referrals to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue for home safety checks and I questioned the use of the Covid recovery fund. But on how the rebate scheme was being run questions there were none.

We all failed on the rebate scheme Mr Stafford, so please don’t make it a party political issue especially as when it came to the chance to question the scheme, like they were on the tree service the Conservative group were as usual AWOL.

Cllr Michael Bennett-Sylvester (90.5pc attendance)