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Lib Dems call for public choice in Shepway grants

November 22, 2009 3:33 PM
Originally published by Folkestone and Hythe Liberal Democrats

Folkestone Councillor Tim Prater has put a motion to the forthcoming Shepway District Council meeting asking that in future, local residents get a say in where grants from the Council should go.

The motion from Cllr Prater follows the recent "You Decide" grants day in Folkestone West where £15,000 of grants from Kent County Council were decided by the public. Previously, County Councillors have decided themselves how such grants should be distributed.

The motion to Shepway District Council says:

"This Council welcomes the pilot project by Kent County Council that has seen 4 County Councillors this year distributing County Grants through a "Participatory Budgeting" scheme which gives local residents a direct say on the distribution of grants.

"This Council resolves that in future, grant schemes run by Shepway such as the Shepway Community Chest should be run using Participatory Budgeting, giving local residents a direct say in which schemes they want to see supported."

Tim Prater commented;

"This is all about a new way of doing things. We should be involving the public in deciding where public money goes. I was pleased to be the first County Councillor in Shepway to take this approach, and I hope that Shepway and other County Councillors will now follow that lead."

** Update: At the Shepway Full Council meeting, the Conservatives opposed the plan and the motion was defeated. Tim commented:

"I think this shows the level of respect that the Conservatives have for local residents. When an idea to involve local residents in deciding where their money should be spent is put, they oppose it. It's a real missed opportunity."