Just who is going to pay for Stack ‘solution’?
With a rather eye-watering £468m estimated as the cost of a “solution” to Operation Stack, who will pay? Kent County Council is making it clear it won’t be putting up a single penny for the costs of any of the options, the most expensive of which is a holding area for up to 4,000 lorries somewhere off the M20.
It is hard to see the Treasury signing off a cheque for the full amount given its austerity programme.
But KCC and Highways England have done what was asked of them by Mr Cameron at the height of the crisis.
The ball is firmly in the government’s court. If nothing is done and we get a repeat of the crisis, the finger of blame will be pointed firmly in the direction of Westminster.
Conservative councillors are clearly under instructions not to refer to an Op Stack lorry park, apparently fearing its negative connotations with the public.
The politician in charge, cabinet member Cllr Matthew Balfour, is struggling to stick to this line despite weighing his words carefully.
In an interview with Off The Record, he twice slipped up and sought to correct himself quickly. Next time, it will be a case of sending him to the headmaster’s office and 100 lines.
Is the Ukip opposition group at County Hall running out of ideas? It has tabled an amendment to this week’s full council meeting asking that the answers to questions tabled at meetings be recorded in the minutes. Yes, seriously. A constitutional crisis looms.
There has been much excitement in town halls about the government’s much-vaunted “devolution” agenda, which promises councils more power and freedom.
The government has just announced with great fanfare that it has had some 36 proposals from councils the length and breadth of the country to take some powers away from Whitehall.
And the number involving Kent councils? A big fat zero.
Crime commissioner Ann Barnes is keeping her counsel over whether she will take a second run at the £85,000-a-year job, although it seems she is interested in standing again next May.
But who could she be up against? The Conservative selection process is getting under way and it seems there could be quite a crowded field.
Among those who have confirmed their intention to put their name forward is the chairman of Kent Conservatives Andrew Mackness, who is a Medway councillor.
Also likely to run is the former Thanet councillor Jo Gideon, who had a go at the nomination last time around.
As to Labour, its candidate Harriet Yeo, a former Ashford councillor, has since defected to Ukip so it is searching for a new name.
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