An opposition motion which called for a united and inclusive approach to discuss the way forward beyond the current lockdown has been rejected by the Tories of Chichester District Council. The suggested task force would have helped inform how best to support efforts towards a local economic recovery and long-term environmental impacts of plans by inviting experts from various local stakeholders to inform the decision making process at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Chichester District Council.

Labour Leader on Chichester District Council, Cllr Kevin Hughes (Chichester East) said “It is with great sadness that we witnessed the Tory leadership of Chichester District Council missing an opportunity for cross-party unity at Annual Council. An opposition motion calling for the involvement of all parties in putting together a recovery plan post-covid19 was dismissed with the flimsiest of excuses.”

Cllr Kevin Hughes continued by saying, “The motion called for the involvement of community groups and business experts with deep knowledge of the local area and their fields of interest. In rejecting our attempt to offer support and guidance to hard-pressed officers, the Tories have proven once again that for them political control freakery comes before the public good.”

Speaking at the Council Meeting via Zoom, Cllr Hughes spoke in favour of the motion, “Business as usual has already been acknowledged as not being an option moving forward, we need people with the knowledge and expertise to help shape the right decisions for the residents of our District.“

What we have seen over the last few weeks and months is that in times of difficulty, people co-operate: they work together to collectively meet their shared needs. Communities and volunteers coming together to help the most vulnerable or improve local community resilience has shown the best of us in such difficult times.

A recent article noting the publishing of the report Building a Co-operative Recovery, by the Co-operative Commission, it’s authors noted, “The earlier we can begin building for what comes next, the better our chances will be of delivering a strong and successful recovery. In planning our recovery, it’s important to pause and reflect on what we’ve seen and learned during these difficult past few weeks.”

Cllr Kevin Hughes concluded by saying, “We’ve all been moved by the kindness of strangers and neighbours alike, reminding us of the real power of local communities. This is our chance not to go back to normal, but forward to better. Perhaps a crisis of this magnitude will help us to reimagine and reshape our communities. Labour intends to grasp that opportunity with both hands. We believe that by working together – businesses, community groups and other local organisations along with local residents – we can rebuild an economy that’s better for everyone in Chichester.”

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