We Cannot Go Back to Business as Usual

As we negotiate the mixed messages coming out of central government about the lockdown, the challenges closer to home will come to the fore. We will be attending the first Zoom full council meeting of the District Council on Tuesday 19 May and we will be joining with the other opposition parties to try to ensure that residents’ health and well-being are right at the top of the agenda when the district emerges from the current crisis. Of course, that statement itself is problematic: it will be a long time before anything like normality returns to the area, and it will be a rather different ‘normal’ to the one to which we were accustomed prior to Covid-19.

The local economy and the way that the council is funded will need to be revived but that does not mean that they will exist in the same format as before. We cannot go back to business as usual without risking the health and well-being of our residents and we are determined that the council does not go down that route. We fear that some of our fellow councillors on the other side of the council chamber do not quite grasp that we will need to think radically yet clearly about how to go forward. That is why it is vital for us to learn what other councils are doing and even what is happening overseas. We must not make the mistake that the UK government made of ignoring best practice and blundering on with what had clearly not worked elsewhere.

Your Labour councillors will be seeking out the things that work and learning from people’s failures as we go forward, but part of our success in doing so involves you: we want to hear from all of those talented and enthusiastic people out there in Chichester who have views on how we can best serve the needs of the community in the coming months and years.

So please, if you have thoughts on this, get in touch at khughes@chichester.gov.uk and slishman@chichester.gov.uk.

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