It was an opportunity to see democracy in action – the public, the opposition and the administration coming together.
Much was discussed. However, one issue was of particular concern to me.
On Tuesday, I heard Conservative leader Councillor Davis demanding of the new administration, 'so which child will you take money from?' This was related to the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) budget.
The idea of potentially removing support from individuals is wrong. The idea of not allocating support to a child, in need, is abhorrent to me.
This mentality is what has seen an 84% increase in SEND tribunals within RBK. Frustrated parents have had no option but to take to the court to fight for their child's needs. Nationally 88% of these tribunals are successful. It is a waste of money, on the part of the Council, and that money could have been allocated for support without the extra stress inflicted on parents.
Earlier this year, before I even considered standing as a candidate for the election, I had challenged the then leader of the Council, Kevin Davis, in a letter to the Surrey Comet, about his decision to not raise the 3% precept which the Government advised all councils that they should raise for social care (as the Government was no longer providing this 3%).
I foresaw a real crisis looming. The resultant cuts are hurting some of the most vulnerable in society.
Tuesday’s Council Meeting detailed our emergency budget revisions. We have inherited a HIDEOUS budget. We will fight to reverse the damage caused by the previous administration, because, that is why we have been elected.
We will 'leave no stone unturned.'
So what can the Liberal Democrats do? We will do everything within our power to try to put back some humanity into the heart of Kingston Council. Painful decisions are having to be made.
We live in difficult times with stretched budgets.
To quote the last administration, dating back to December 2016, 'words are cheap, actions are everything.' I hope that eventually our actions will have a positive impact on the lives of people living within the Royal Borough of Kingston.
Lib Dem Councillor for Chessington South