Scarborough Councillor Derek Bastiman calls for coalition cabinet to deal with pandemic fallout

The former leader of Scarborough Council has called on the authority to bring in a coalition cabinet to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, 4th May 2020, 3:00 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 3:00 pm

In an open letter, Conservative leader Cllr Derek Bastiman has called on all the parties on the borough council to work together to put Scarborough back on track when restrictions are eased then lifted.

Since May 2019, Scarborough Council has been ruled by a Labour and Independent Group coalition after that month’s elections saw the end of 20 years of Conservative control.

In a letter to all the group leaders on the council, Cllr Bastiman wrote that the authority should look to use the skills of all its members.

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Councillor Derek Bastiman. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

He added: “The borough council is the ideal organisation to take forward the initiative and with this in mind I have suggested to my fellow group leaders that a coalition administration should be set up, bringing together all political affiliations, and those with none, to enable the borough to be prepared to take on board opportunities which may be presented to us.

“Across the council membership we have many varied skills and bringing them together I believe we can bring about the early revival of this area’s economy.

“Such a coalition council should work with the many entrepreneurs, business leaders, and organisations in the council’s area to pool ideas and innovative projects to ensure that our workforce can return to employment, our tourist industry can once again boom, the many rural enterprises and businesses find new markets and our residents enjoy the health and wellbeing of which they are rightly proud and deserve.”

Scarborough Council will hold its first virtual cabinet meeting on Tuesday next week (12th), with the public able to watch proceedings on Youtube.

Scarborough Town Hall. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Cllr Bastiman added that in order for the council to continue investing in a post-pandemic Scarborough it cannot rely on making decisions “arbitrarily”.

He ends by saying that he hopes his fellow group leaders support his belief that a coalition cabinet is the best way to ensure the borough comes through the crisis.

In response to Cllr Bastiman the Labour leader of Scarborough Council, Cllr Steve Siddons, said now was “not the time for unnecessary diversions”.

He said: “We already are a coalition council, Labour and Independent, and have been since last May.

“We have been working together for the health of our local people and the locally economy, all groups have been involved.

“With Whitby in the worst 10 and Scarborough in the 20 most-affected town economies in the country, now isn’t the time for unnecessary diversions, our residents deserve better.

“All councillors need, and seem keen, to get behind the plan to protect the borough.

“I hope we can all work together in the best interests of our communities.”

Full letter:

Is it time for a coalition at the council?

With the prospect of some relaxation of Government regulations on lock-in during the current Covid-19 outbreak, it would seem an appropriate time for our Borough to explore its regeneration to help the revival of the local economy.

The Borough Council is the ideal organisation to take forward the initiative and with this in mind I have suggested to my fellow group leaders that a coalition administration should be set up, bringing together all political affiliations, and those with none, to enable the Borough to be prepared to take on board opportunities which may be presented to us.

Across the council membership we have many varied skills and bringing them together I believe we can bring about the early revival of this area’s economy.

Such a coalition council should work with the many entrepreneurs, business leaders, and organisations in the council’s area to pool ideas and innovative projects to ensure that our workforce can return to employment, our tourist industry can once again boom, the many rural enterprises and businesses find new markets and our residents enjoy the health and well-being of which they are rightly proud and deserve.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak there was general interest in investing in our Borough and of course Scarborough was the most visited overnight destination outside London.

But the council cannot undertake such regeneration arbitrarily.

While we may hopefully get some financial help from the Government and the Local Enterprise Partnership, it will be up to the council to take the lead and a coalition administration would, I believe, be the best solution to take it forward.

I await what I hope will be a positive response from fellow group leaders.

Cllr Derek Bastiman

Conservative Group Leader

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