Deft deal­ing as bud­get de­bate turns to bis­cuits

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Most Unromantic Man Competition -

Kent County Coun­cil has not al­ways been fleet of foot when it comes to em­brac­ing tech­nol­ogy and so­cial me­dia. But let’s give credit where credit is due.

Just be­fore Christ­mas, Cllr John Sim­monds – the politi­cian in charge of the coun­cil’s cof­fers – held what must have been the first KCC we­bchat over the au­thor­ity’s bud­get plans.

Amid the more se­ri­ous ques­tions – and there were some – Cllr Sim­monds dealt deftly with the more friv­o­lous.

What, he was asked, was his favourite bis­cuit? “We haven’t had bis­cuits here in County Hall for many years! But if I had to choose – I’d say a choco­late di­ges­tive!”

Later on, he was asked what his favourite cake was. “Any type of cake pro­duced in Kent.”

Off The Record won­ders whether there might have been a PR ad­viser at his side to keep him firmly on mes­sage.

KCC has de­cided it can do with­out a £96,000 com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor as part of its bud­get sav­ings this year but might it re­gret it?

A re­cent press re­lease from the County Hall HQ ar­rives with this snappy head­line: must be rather strained af­ter his re­fusal to back a gram­mar school an­nexe in west Kent.

Ed­u­ca­tion chiefs in­sist they are ex­plor­ing other op­tions.

Mean­while, op­po­si­tion Labour county coun­cil­lors this week cast them­selves as the un­likely sym­pa­this­ers with par­ents who have cam­paigned for the school.

Cllr Gor­don Cowan and his col­league Will Sco­bie used a com­mit­tee meet­ing to ac­cuse the County Hall Con­ser­va­tives of “let­ting down par­ents” and “rais­ing false ex­pec­ta­tions”. Sur­real.

Fol­low Paul on Twit­ter @PaulOnPol­i­tics

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