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Keighley councillor numbers debated on One Show television programme
11:00am Friday 31st January 2014 in News
Two councillors took to the platform of national television to voice their views on how many members should be representing Keighley district people.
Keighley deputy mayor, Councillor Judith Brooksbank, appeared alongside Bingley district councillor and Keighley resident, John Pennington, on an episode of The One Show last week.
Coun Brooksbank was reiterating her argument that the number of Bradford district councillors could be cut from 90 to 60 in order to save £390,000 from the council budget.
She was countered by Coun Pennington, who argued the heavy workload of councillors showed the current number for Bradford district is justified.
He and Coun Brooksbank were filmed in the cafe at Keighley’s North Street Civic Centre.
Commenting after the programme was broadcast, Coun Pennington said: “I think Brad-ford came across in a decent light, and we were able to highlight the problems involved in reducing the number of councillors.
“There would not be enough people to man all the various council committees, and if you start cutting councillors you would lose a big chunk of democracy. Everyone who becomes a councillor is surprised by just how much work there is.”
Programme makers followed him for a 12-hour day, during which time they filmed him carrying out some of the varied community work every ward councillor must attend to.
Coun Brooksbank, also speaking after the One Show episode was screened, said: “This is a topic I think is worth discussing, and the programme makers obviously thought so too.
“I think the filming went fine – they weren’t trying to catch us out – and they gave me a chance to say what I thought.
“There are councils all over Britain that are dealing with budget cuts, and quite a few of them are debating whether to cut councillor numbers. It isn’t a party political issue.
“There is the argument councillors have so much work to do. But then at Bradford they are intending to drastically cut down on council staff numbers. So why would we need so many councillors to oversee a much-diminished complement of staff?”
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