Southampton City Council leader Richard William’s budget silence to pensioners forum ‘made mockery of meeting’

Daily Echo: Richard Williams Richard Williams

AS leader of Southampton’s City Council he has to answer tough questions about his decisions.

But faced with a group of elderly voters wanting to hear how the council’s budget would affect them, Cllr Richard Williams remained tight-lipped.

Although details of massive cuts and hikes in charges was only an hour from being released, Cllr Williams told a meeting of Southampton Pensioners’ Forum on Monday that he was not allowed to tell them for legal reasons. This was despite the fact that council staff and unions had already been informed ahead of the 5pm press embargo put on the story by the council.

It meant those who attended the pensioners’ forum, which finished at 4pm, only found out they would be 12 per cent worse off from the cuts when they got home.

Secretary Don Harper said Cllr Williams’ position “made a mockery of the meeting”.

“I was a bit surprised. It was the budget we wanted to know about.

“Either he genuinely believed that he wasn’t allowed to say anything or he didn’t want to talk about it.

Whichever it was, it made a mockery of the meeting. I didn’t get out of it what I wanted.

“You could definitely say that the members all had different views about the budget. No wonder he didn’t want to talk about it.

“We always meet in November time. If they haven’t set the budget, then it gives us the opportunity to put forward ideas,” added Mr Harper. “Either he’s been very clever or he genuinely did not know what the rules are.”

In the meeting, Tory councillor Royston Smith argued twice that the forum should hear how the budget would affect them but Cllr Williams stuck to his guns.

A spokesman for Southampton City Council said that while the embargo was not a legal restriction for Cllr Williams, he was following the process.

Cllr Williams told the Daily Echo he had been advised there was an embargo on the budget until 5pm and said he would have been criticised for breaking it.

“I was told by legal officers this was the protocol. If I overstated it, I apologise,” he said.

He promised to visit the pensioners’ forum again before the budget is set in February to hear their concerns and offered them the council chamber for meetings.

Comments (15)

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5:54pm Fri 16 Nov 12

bigfella777 says...

I dont see how he can still be leader in February once the enquiry finds him guilty of the lies he has told.
I dont see how he can still be leader in February once the enquiry finds him guilty of the lies he has told. bigfella777

6:15pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Subject48 says...

and what will happen then ? He will eb removed from office, soemone else takes over, and he will get a post elsewhere?

Please.

The only accountability short of immediate execution, would be that if you are cought out on misleading the public/lying to the public, you should be barred from any kind of public office anywhere in the land, indeffinitly.

The self serving political leeches would be weeded out. if that does not work we could try something else. It would be a start.
and what will happen then ? He will eb removed from office, soemone else takes over, and he will get a post elsewhere? Please. The only accountability short of immediate execution, would be that if you are cought out on misleading the public/lying to the public, you should be barred from any kind of public office anywhere in the land, indeffinitly. The self serving political leeches would be weeded out. if that does not work we could try something else. It would be a start. Subject48

6:50pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Maine Lobster says...

Subject48 wrote:
and what will happen then ? He will eb removed from office, soemone else takes over, and he will get a post elsewhere?

Please.

The only accountability short of immediate execution, would be that if you are cought out on misleading the public/lying to the public, you should be barred from any kind of public office anywhere in the land, indeffinitly.

The self serving political leeches would be weeded out. if that does not work we could try something else. It would be a start.
If he stands down or is removed the Labour group will choose another leader, the same as when Alec Samuels made way for Royston Smith.
[quote][p][bold]Subject48[/bold] wrote: and what will happen then ? He will eb removed from office, soemone else takes over, and he will get a post elsewhere? Please. The only accountability short of immediate execution, would be that if you are cought out on misleading the public/lying to the public, you should be barred from any kind of public office anywhere in the land, indeffinitly. The self serving political leeches would be weeded out. if that does not work we could try something else. It would be a start.[/p][/quote]If he stands down or is removed the Labour group will choose another leader, the same as when Alec Samuels made way for Royston Smith. Maine Lobster

9:33pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Nod says...

How can the people of Southampton give a vote of no confidence in the people currently running the city council?

It is inconceivable that we should have to put up with this lot for another 18 months.
How can the people of Southampton give a vote of no confidence in the people currently running the city council? It is inconceivable that we should have to put up with this lot for another 18 months. Nod

11:44pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Paramjit Bahia says...

As I am not a lawyer somebody qualified should correct me if I am wrong.

Having served on County Council for 16 years and on City Council for 8, I find it difficult to accept that there is any law stopping any councillor from discussing his or her policy on budget with members of the public.

Otherwise why do most political parties often try to attract votes by tempting people by dangling the carrots of low taxes and better services on TV radio and in the press?

In this case Dear Leader Williams is alleged to have told the pensioners meeting that he was not allowed to tell for 'LEGAL REASONS'.

But then he wants to hide behind something called protocol.

Williams is not stupid but highly educated man. How come he did not know the difference between system adopted for keeping people in the dark and law passed by parliament?

Does he belong to same party that often lectures not only our government but also many other nations about open and honest governance?

Why does he not practice what his party pretends to preach?

Considering this is not an isolated fib told by Williams but has become his standrad form of behaviour since becoming the Leader of the Council, him saying sorry or apologising should not be acceptable any more.

If NuLabour as a party wants to save itself from sinking like Titanic, they should get rid of Williams and his Deputy Rayment as soon as possible, otherwise people will with their voting power kick their arrogant and dishonest mob out.
As I am not a lawyer somebody qualified should correct me if I am wrong. Having served on County Council for 16 years and on City Council for 8, I find it difficult to accept that there is any law stopping any councillor from discussing his or her policy on budget with members of the public. Otherwise why do most political parties often try to attract votes by tempting people by dangling the carrots of low taxes and better services on TV radio and in the press? In this case Dear Leader Williams is alleged to have told the pensioners meeting that he was not allowed to tell for 'LEGAL REASONS'. But then he wants to hide behind something called protocol. Williams is not stupid but highly educated man. How come he did not know the difference between system adopted for keeping people in the dark and law passed by parliament? Does he belong to same party that often lectures not only our government but also many other nations about open and honest governance? Why does he not practice what his party pretends to preach? Considering this is not an isolated fib told by Williams but has become his standrad form of behaviour since becoming the Leader of the Council, him saying sorry or apologising should not be acceptable any more. If NuLabour as a party wants to save itself from sinking like Titanic, they should get rid of Williams and his Deputy Rayment as soon as possible, otherwise people will with their voting power kick their arrogant and dishonest mob out. Paramjit Bahia

12:40am Sat 17 Nov 12

Sir Ad E Noid says...

Paramjit Bahia wrote:
As I am not a lawyer somebody qualified should correct me if I am wrong.

Having served on County Council for 16 years and on City Council for 8, I find it difficult to accept that there is any law stopping any councillor from discussing his or her policy on budget with members of the public.

Otherwise why do most political parties often try to attract votes by tempting people by dangling the carrots of low taxes and better services on TV radio and in the press?

In this case Dear Leader Williams is alleged to have told the pensioners meeting that he was not allowed to tell for 'LEGAL REASONS'.

But then he wants to hide behind something called protocol.

Williams is not stupid but highly educated man. How come he did not know the difference between system adopted for keeping people in the dark and law passed by parliament?

Does he belong to same party that often lectures not only our government but also many other nations about open and honest governance?

Why does he not practice what his party pretends to preach?

Considering this is not an isolated fib told by Williams but has become his standrad form of behaviour since becoming the Leader of the Council, him saying sorry or apologising should not be acceptable any more.

If NuLabour as a party wants to save itself from sinking like Titanic, they should get rid of Williams and his Deputy Rayment as soon as possible, otherwise people will with their voting power kick their arrogant and dishonest mob out.
It's not often that I agree with you, but well done on this point.
[quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: As I am not a lawyer somebody qualified should correct me if I am wrong. Having served on County Council for 16 years and on City Council for 8, I find it difficult to accept that there is any law stopping any councillor from discussing his or her policy on budget with members of the public. Otherwise why do most political parties often try to attract votes by tempting people by dangling the carrots of low taxes and better services on TV radio and in the press? In this case Dear Leader Williams is alleged to have told the pensioners meeting that he was not allowed to tell for 'LEGAL REASONS'. But then he wants to hide behind something called protocol. Williams is not stupid but highly educated man. How come he did not know the difference between system adopted for keeping people in the dark and law passed by parliament? Does he belong to same party that often lectures not only our government but also many other nations about open and honest governance? Why does he not practice what his party pretends to preach? Considering this is not an isolated fib told by Williams but has become his standrad form of behaviour since becoming the Leader of the Council, him saying sorry or apologising should not be acceptable any more. If NuLabour as a party wants to save itself from sinking like Titanic, they should get rid of Williams and his Deputy Rayment as soon as possible, otherwise people will with their voting power kick their arrogant and dishonest mob out.[/p][/quote]It's not often that I agree with you, but well done on this point. Sir Ad E Noid

12:51am Sat 17 Nov 12

IronLady2010 says...

Sir Ad E Noid wrote:
Paramjit Bahia wrote:
As I am not a lawyer somebody qualified should correct me if I am wrong.

Having served on County Council for 16 years and on City Council for 8, I find it difficult to accept that there is any law stopping any councillor from discussing his or her policy on budget with members of the public.

Otherwise why do most political parties often try to attract votes by tempting people by dangling the carrots of low taxes and better services on TV radio and in the press?

In this case Dear Leader Williams is alleged to have told the pensioners meeting that he was not allowed to tell for 'LEGAL REASONS'.

But then he wants to hide behind something called protocol.

Williams is not stupid but highly educated man. How come he did not know the difference between system adopted for keeping people in the dark and law passed by parliament?

Does he belong to same party that often lectures not only our government but also many other nations about open and honest governance?

Why does he not practice what his party pretends to preach?

Considering this is not an isolated fib told by Williams but has become his standrad form of behaviour since becoming the Leader of the Council, him saying sorry or apologising should not be acceptable any more.

If NuLabour as a party wants to save itself from sinking like Titanic, they should get rid of Williams and his Deputy Rayment as soon as possible, otherwise people will with their voting power kick their arrogant and dishonest mob out.
It's not often that I agree with you, but well done on this point.
I don't know why, but recently Mr Bahia is speaking a lot of sense. I agree with you Mr Bahia, maybe as we are both getting older, we see things in a different light.

Keep up the posts, I'm actually enjoying reading them! (this is not sarcastic either).
[quote][p][bold]Sir Ad E Noid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: As I am not a lawyer somebody qualified should correct me if I am wrong. Having served on County Council for 16 years and on City Council for 8, I find it difficult to accept that there is any law stopping any councillor from discussing his or her policy on budget with members of the public. Otherwise why do most political parties often try to attract votes by tempting people by dangling the carrots of low taxes and better services on TV radio and in the press? In this case Dear Leader Williams is alleged to have told the pensioners meeting that he was not allowed to tell for 'LEGAL REASONS'. But then he wants to hide behind something called protocol. Williams is not stupid but highly educated man. How come he did not know the difference between system adopted for keeping people in the dark and law passed by parliament? Does he belong to same party that often lectures not only our government but also many other nations about open and honest governance? Why does he not practice what his party pretends to preach? Considering this is not an isolated fib told by Williams but has become his standrad form of behaviour since becoming the Leader of the Council, him saying sorry or apologising should not be acceptable any more. If NuLabour as a party wants to save itself from sinking like Titanic, they should get rid of Williams and his Deputy Rayment as soon as possible, otherwise people will with their voting power kick their arrogant and dishonest mob out.[/p][/quote]It's not often that I agree with you, but well done on this point.[/p][/quote]I don't know why, but recently Mr Bahia is speaking a lot of sense. I agree with you Mr Bahia, maybe as we are both getting older, we see things in a different light. Keep up the posts, I'm actually enjoying reading them! (this is not sarcastic either). IronLady2010

7:57am Sat 17 Nov 12

loosehead says...

In other words he (Williams) wanted an easy time of it & knew if he'd told them about the budget he would come under attack so keep quiet wait until it gets to the end & leave.
sounds a bit like the negotiations the Unions had with the Tories before the Industrial Action.
The Tories put forward ideas the Unions said can't agree or won't say sounds familiar to Williams attitude doesn't it?
In other words he (Williams) wanted an easy time of it & knew if he'd told them about the budget he would come under attack so keep quiet wait until it gets to the end & leave. sounds a bit like the negotiations the Unions had with the Tories before the Industrial Action. The Tories put forward ideas the Unions said can't agree or won't say sounds familiar to Williams attitude doesn't it? loosehead

9:26am Sat 17 Nov 12

mr nobody says...

My god Clr Williams and his sidekicks really do not have any shame , first they all lie to the people of Southampton , then they release their budget and low and behold surprise surprise they keep to their true colours more dishonest things are in it , first the young now the old .did Clr Thropes wife help write your budget because this is just her sort of work to .Not mixing my words i think you are all a bunch of parasites and the people of Southampton should call in a pest control company now , and no where in your budget do we see your own pockets being hit GREED GREED GREED ITS NOT NEW LABOUR ITS GREEDY'LABOUR .
My god Clr Williams and his sidekicks really do not have any shame , first they all lie to the people of Southampton , then they release their budget and low and behold surprise surprise they keep to their true colours more dishonest things are in it , first the young now the old .did Clr Thropes wife help write your budget because this is just her sort of work to .Not mixing my words i think you are all a bunch of parasites and the people of Southampton should call in a pest control company now , and no where in your budget do we see your own pockets being hit GREED GREED GREED ITS NOT NEW LABOUR ITS GREEDY'LABOUR . mr nobody

9:56am Sat 17 Nov 12

loosehead says...

mr nobody wrote:
My god Clr Williams and his sidekicks really do not have any shame , first they all lie to the people of Southampton , then they release their budget and low and behold surprise surprise they keep to their true colours more dishonest things are in it , first the young now the old .did Clr Thropes wife help write your budget because this is just her sort of work to .Not mixing my words i think you are all a bunch of parasites and the people of Southampton should call in a pest control company now , and no where in your budget do we see your own pockets being hit GREED GREED GREED ITS NOT NEW LABOUR ITS GREEDY'LABOUR .
Expect to be attacked for your post if not I'll be in shock even though I totally agree with you
[quote][p][bold]mr nobody[/bold] wrote: My god Clr Williams and his sidekicks really do not have any shame , first they all lie to the people of Southampton , then they release their budget and low and behold surprise surprise they keep to their true colours more dishonest things are in it , first the young now the old .did Clr Thropes wife help write your budget because this is just her sort of work to .Not mixing my words i think you are all a bunch of parasites and the people of Southampton should call in a pest control company now , and no where in your budget do we see your own pockets being hit GREED GREED GREED ITS NOT NEW LABOUR ITS GREEDY'LABOUR .[/p][/quote]Expect to be attacked for your post if not I'll be in shock even though I totally agree with you loosehead

2:49pm Sat 17 Nov 12

debs1909 says...

Can I apply to run the city council? I'm sure I could do a better job than this guy
Can I apply to run the city council? I'm sure I could do a better job than this guy debs1909

7:05pm Sat 17 Nov 12

aldermoorboy says...

More Labour shame.
Vote Tory in 2014 for honest councillors.
More Labour shame. Vote Tory in 2014 for honest councillors. aldermoorboy

7:32pm Sat 17 Nov 12

mr nobody says...

New film out to be released next week call The Parasites starring the full cast of the SCC Greedy Labour Party and lead role goes to Clr Williams .
New film out to be released next week call The Parasites starring the full cast of the SCC Greedy Labour Party and lead role goes to Clr Williams . mr nobody

5:07pm Tue 11 Dec 12

lisa whitemore says...

Wow Something everyone seems to agree on...? Now that alone speaks volumes as to the sad state of affairs our City's really is in...
Wow Something everyone seems to agree on...? Now that alone speaks volumes as to the sad state of affairs our City's really is in... lisa whitemore

6:09pm Tue 11 Dec 12

loosehead says...

lisa whitemore wrote:
Wow Something everyone seems to agree on...? Now that alone speaks volumes as to the sad state of affairs our City's really is in...
So what do you think of the park area Sorry pedestrianised area outside the city centre that's being planned?
Great place for councillors to have lunch in the summer isn't it?
[quote][p][bold]lisa whitemore[/bold] wrote: Wow Something everyone seems to agree on...? Now that alone speaks volumes as to the sad state of affairs our City's really is in...[/p][/quote]So what do you think of the park area Sorry pedestrianised area outside the city centre that's being planned? Great place for councillors to have lunch in the summer isn't it? loosehead

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