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Tories strike deal with Lib Dems over council control

By Rob George 09/05 Updated: 09/05 18:07

Buy photos » Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders Simon Geraghty and Liz Smith shake on their agreement. 1912031ncw www.buyphotos247.com

A DEAL has been struck between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats over the future control of Worcester City Council.

Council leader Simon Geraghty confirmed this lunchtime the two parties had signed an agreement which would provide "stable leadership" for the council.

The agreement would mean the council is led by a minority Conservative administration and does not represent a formal coalition between the two parties.

Last week's council elections saw the Tories lose their slender majority to leave none of the parties with overall control with the Conservatives having 17 seats, Labour 15, the Lib Dems two and the Greens one.

The agreement is now subject to the appointment of a leader by full council at the annual council meeting on May 15.

Below is the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties:

An agreement between Worcester Conservative Group & Worcester Liberal Democrat Group to work together in order to ensure a stable administration for the city council continues for the benefit of the citizens of Worcester

May 8, 2012

Key Policy Commitments

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will continue to put initiatives to support the economy at the heart of City Council policy.

· The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Groups agree to continue to fight to protect the Green Belt.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats agree to emphasise the importance of social and affordable housing as part of their policies.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats agree to allocate one-third of all future New Homes Bonus to support the provision of social and affordable housing in the City.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will seek to ensure there will be no cuts in voluntary, community, arts or sports grants in future budgets.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will seek to influence all relevant bodies to tackle congestion in the City Centre.

· Future receipts from former council house sales will be hypothecated to support the provision of social & affordable housing.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will ensure that the Medium Term Financial Plan seeks to continue the level of council services over the lifetime of the plan.

Promoting Greater Involvement

· The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Groups agree to support a greater cross-party sharing of roles amongst non-cabinet members of the Council, including the chairmanships of the Planning/Licensing Committees.

· The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Groups agree not to oppose the appointment of the current Deputy Mayor as Mayor of Worcester for 2012/13.

· The Liberal Democrat Group will consider whether to enter a formal coalition with the Conservatives and, if they do, they will have the right to a representative on the Cabinet and the terms of such an agreement would be subject to a further agreement.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will introduce Portfolio Holder briefings between Cabinet members and opposition lead councillors to aid understanding and promote dialogue between the parties.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will bring forward proposals to facilitate greater involvement of councillors in policy formulation. This will be done as part of the current constitutional review. This is likely to involve the formation of a Policy Forum, the details of which are to be determined in all party talks, as soon as practically possible.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will support a further review of the Governance Arrangements to examine the opportunities in the Localism Act to make it possible to involve more members in the decision making processes of the Council.

· The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will identify ways for greater involvement of members in the governance of shared services.

Party Specific Matters

· The Liberal Democrats will be free to express their views and, for example, oppose the SWDP at future stages.

· Conservatives will be free to advocate and advance the seven pledges in their manifesto in any context.

· Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats agree to be open with each other concerning differences that results from these reservations. Advance warning will be given of any intention to act or argue contrary to a Cabinet recommendation or decision.

In the light of the above commitments the Liberal Democrat Group will support the continuation of the current administration and leadership.

Coun Simon Geraghty

Leader

Worcester Conservative Group

Coun Liz Smith

Leader

Worcester Liberal Democrat Group

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