Suffolk Lib-Dems calls for a referendum on schools, postponement of Council Vote
PAC endorses Lib-Dem suggestions
Mar 13, 2007
Suffolk's Liberal Democrats have called for a referendum on the future of Suffolk's schools, and asked for the planned March 22 Council vote on proposed reforms to be postponed to allow time for the plebiscite.
Lib-Dem group leader on the Council Kathy Pollard said the proposed vote would give Suffolk people a chance to express their views, and would test statements by Council majority leaders from the Conservative Party that there was a "silent majority" in favour of switching all education in the county to a two-tier system.
Parents Against Change believes the Lib-Dem call for a referendum to be sensible and endorses the call for a deferred vote. PAC is not convinced Councillors have been listening to the many extremely coherent arguments put to them by ordinary people about the wisdom/non-wisdom of voting to spend tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on a reform that appears unlikely to have the desired effect. Thus it may be time to by-pass altogether a Council, some of whose elected members have openly stated they will vote as they see fit, rather than vote as representatives of the people.
Below is the full text of the Lib-Dem press release:
To: Political/News Editors
For Immediate Release
Liberal Democrats call for referendum on schools review
Today Liberal Democrats on Suffolk County Council called for a referendum on the future of Suffolk's school system and for the vote at the Full Council meeting on 22nd March to be postponed in order for this to happen.
Group Leader Cllr Kathy Pollard said, "Since the report on proposed changes to the schools system in Suffolk was published there has been a lively debate on the issue. Many opinions have been expressed and there are many complex and interesting arguments to be considered.
"This issue does seem to have stirred up many strong feelings and on such an important debate we believe that the people of Suffolk should be given every opportunity to express their views, both for and against.
"We are calling for the vote to be deferred so that a referendum can be held in the affected areas on the same day as the District elections. This would allow everyone to have a say on the school reorganisation. The vote will also allow us to see if there really is a 'silent majority' who favour these changes, as the Conservatives claim."
Deputy Group Leader, Cllr Andrew Cann added, "In the end everyone involved in this debate simply wants what they believe is best for the young people of Suffolk: an education to be proud of. Over the course of this debate however it appears the case may not be as clear-cut as previously thought.
If the Conservatives are truly interested in open, representative local government then lets delay the vote and find out what people really think. On an issue this big and long lasting a delay of a few months is worth any inconvenience to policy that may cause."
Kathy Pollard 01473 313036 or 07889 123 702
Andrew Cann 07865 062 000