Critical workers 'thanks' motion is rejected by district councillors

Cllr Chris White and Cllr Mary Maynard.

Cllr Chris White and Cllr Mary Maynard have been at loggerheads over a motion thanking critical workers for their efforts during the pandemic. - Credit: SADC

A motion calling for a special thank you to critical workers who risked their lives during the pandemic has been rejected by a majority of district councillors.

Conservatives Cllr Mary Maynard and Cllr Julian Daly proposed recognising the dedication, self-sacrifice, skill and hard work of frontline workers by allowing a 50 per cent discount on season parking permits or waiving the green waste charge for the rest of this financial year.

The Lib Dem administration condemned the move as "breathtaking Tory hypocrisy".

Council leader Cllr Chris White said: "That the party which gave the NHS a pay cut in the middle of a Covid epidemic should pretend it cares about care workers is literally sickening.

"It is increasingly apparent that the local Conservatives aren't a serious political party and are intent on wasting the time of local people and of this council and its officers with their shameless political posturing."

The Lib Dems proposed an amendment which included honouring hospitality food heroes, a special Mayor’s Pride Award in honour of frontline workers and community champions, and demanding full financial compensation for the costs of Covid from the government. 

Cllr Mary Maynard said in her speech rejecting the amendment: "Many of the front-line workers Julian  and I wish to thank in our motion are low paid. They will understand this sentiment and would echo it to you if they were here tonight.

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"Waiving the green waste charge or giving a 50 per cent discount on season parking tickets would mean a lot to them. For many of the people here tonight, the affluent middle class, it does not mean much. For front-line workers it often means a lot.

"Sadly, we cannot support the Liberal Democrat amendment. It shows no care for the people we are all here to serve and who served us so well.

"It is merely a misguided and ill-informed attack on the government and a watering down of the Conservative motion so that the people we want to thank get nothing, no tangible benefit at all, which means no real thanks.

"Giving their leadership teams an award or a party means nothing to them. It’s words not action."

In a break with tradition, the Lib Dems used the usually non-partisan Mayor to vote against the motion.

For – 11

Against – 9

Abstain – 0