Rw leads t circus jibe

PUBLISHED: 10:43 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 22:01 03 May 2010

LIBERAL Demcrat leader cuncillr Gareth Wilsn has been accused f turning the cuncil int a circus after trying t save sme f East Cambridgeshire s arts funding. Oppsitin cuncillrs runded n him after he suggested that the £70,000 cut in the

LIBERAL Demcrat leader cuncillr Gareth Wilsn has been accused f turning the cuncil int "a circus" after trying t save sme f East Cambridgeshire's arts funding.

Oppsitin cuncillrs runded n him after he suggested that the £70,000 cut in the arts budget culd be halved by taking mney frm the new leisure centre fund.

They claimed full cuncil was nt the time r the place t be trying t change a decisin already supprted by cmmittee.

And they said the mve was hypcritical because when the Liberal Demcrats had a chance t reduce the cut tw mnths ag at cmmunity services cmmittee, tw cuncillrs vted against it.

"He turned the cuncil int a circus," said Independent Derrick Beckett, wh prpsed a £50,000 arts grant cut in December which was supprted by tw Cnservatives but vted against by tw Liberal Demcrats n the cuncil's cmmunity services cmmittee.

"Cllr Wilsn was hping public pressure wuld have persuaded sme f the Cnservatives t change their minds. But this shuld have been dealt with by cmmittee and I did nt feel the full cuncil was the time r the place."

Cnservative Bill Hunt, wh secnded Cllr Beckett's riginal prpsal, accused Cllr Wilsn f "scring cheap plitical pints".

He said: "This was hypcritical. The time fr this decisin is at the cmmittee stage where it had a realistic chance f ging thrugh because the vte was 5-4 against after tw Cnservatives vted in favur and tw Liberal Demcrats against.

"If yu take this t full cuncil yu can nly reverse a decisin if yu feel it was handled wrngly by the cmmittee. This wuld have undermined the cmmittee."

But Cllr Wilsn defended the mve, claiming that when the riginal grant cut was annunced, there had been n cnsultatin with ADEC, the cuncil's Gvernment grant was undecided and the cuncil had nt decided n its budget.

"It was nt the right time t d it," he said. "This was sprung nt the agenda with n ntice.

"This was t imprtant t be discussed by just ne cmmittee. The Cnservatives are embarrassed abut vting fr a cut that will lead t the clsure f the Babyln Gallery whilst we are putting mney int a fund fr a rainy day. But they have t d it because they have been tld t by their leader. The Cnservatives vted as ne as they d n mst issues."

Cuncillrs rubber-stamped the £70,000 cut in arts' grant but Cllr Beckett abstained.

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