Westminster Conservatives give ‘slap in the face’ to voluntary groups

Posted: 11/03/10

Westminster Conservatives have delivered another ‘slap in the face' to Westminster's voluntary organisations by throwing them off the main board of the Westminster City Partnership and relegating them to a toothless ‘advisory board'.

The decision to end a decade of positive contributions from Westminster's voluntary sector was taken at the WCP meeting on 4th March when Labour Councillor Guthrie McKie voted against the proposal but was outvoted by the Conservatives who forced through the proposals. Following the vote, voluntary sector representatives Drew Stevenson, Jackie Rosenberg and Voluntary Action Westminster Chief Executive Bernard Collier walked out of the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Chair of the Paddington Development Trust, Drew Stevenson, wrote to WCP board members to say;

"My main concern is the proposal to destroy the cross sector partnership that the current WCP has been, and to replace it with a one-sector Board. I do not believe that this is in the interest of consensual working (that has dominated constructive developments in regeneration across the country for the past decade or more) nor in the interests of those whom we are all trying to serve - the residents and businesses of Westminster."

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said:

"Throwing voluntary organizations off the main board of the Westminster City Partnership is a backward step and shows how totally out of touch the dinosaur Westminster Conservatives really are. This is the reality of the Conservatives in government. David Cameron might be the smiling face of the Conservatives, but the nasty and vindictive Westminster Conservatives show their party's real mean-spirited face."

The decision to relegate Westminster voluntary groups to the toothless ‘advisory board' comes a month after Westminster Conservatives slashed over £500,000 from the voluntary sector budget, a decision that Labour Councillors are pledged to reverse after the May elections.