Jubilee celebrations could still be awarded funding

I feel that I must respond to Patricia Cooke’s letter in the Todmorden News (16.02.12) regarding the Labour Group on Todmorden Town Council and funding for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in our town. I’m afraid that she has been somewhat misinformed and I would therefore like to set the record straight on this matter.

The Amenities Committee (16.11.11) passed a budget to be set aside for Jubilee funding applications and a small working group set up to consider such applications. However, this proposal had to be presented to a full town council meeting (18.01.12) in order to be ratified in the usual way. At that meeting another proposal was put forward, by a Labour councillor, not to have a specific Jubilee fund in place – this was not a refusal to fund Jubilee celebrations, which is clearly what was stated in the aforementioned letter.

A vote was called for on the amendment, which resulted in a tied vote. In this situation the Mayor had a casting vote and he chose to vote in favour of the amendment meaning that a separate Jubilee fund was not ratified. A named vote was called for on this issue and recorded by the town clerk, so if Mrs Cooke would like to see details of who voted and how they voted, the minutes of the relevant meetings are available, as always, in the library.

I would like to point out though, that the majority of Labour councillors did not vote against a Jubilee fund per se and so to state that ‘the Labour Group on Todmorden Town Council have removed a budget provision’ is, I’m afraid, factually incorrect.

On a personal level, I feel that a separate Jubilee fund was an important fund to have but I would stress to any organisation wishing to make an application for Jubilee events, to apply to the Amenities Committee in the usual way where we will still consider all individual applications on their merit. Not having a stated funding pot put aside to help finance community events for this national celebration is not a barrier to applying to the town council for funding, as the letter I am responding to implies.

Events that allow our community to come together and feel a sense of belonging, whether that is for the Jubilee or any other celebration, are welcomed, in fact encouraged, by the Labour Group on Todmorden Town Council because these are of huge benefit to our town in many ways.

My final thought on this issue is that it is important to remember that Todmorden Town Council is a democracy and this means that members have the right to vote in the way they choose and if a vote is passed by a majority then it must stand. This is the way in which all our democratically elected bodies work. It is right and proper. It is not possible for every person to be happy with every decision that town council makes, nonetheless, the process of a democratic vote is fundamental and has to be the central premise from which we all work as councillors.

Coun Penny Langham(Labour)