Wigan councillor’s speech ends in laughter after maths blunder
One councillor was left with egg on his face after getting his maths severely wrong during a full council meeting in Wigan.
Coun Bob Brierley, angered by the council’s decision not to roll out free gym membership for all army veterans, suggested to the chamber that every councillor put in £9 to fund it.
However, the Hindley Green Independent’s maths was off by around £90 from 74 councillors to fit the estimated £5,982 per year it would cost to run. Coun Brierley took the the roars of laughter in good faith and even gave a chuckle himself when he realised his mistake.
“Fine, I’ll give £100 and show this cabinet!”, he went on to say.
This came after Wigan Town Hall was addressed by Independent Network’s Coun James Watson after his motion for free gym memberships for vets was not approved in cabinet last month. He claimed their argument that 20,000 plus vets could take up this offer and it would cost them millions was ‘unlawful and shameful’.
“What I witnessed [at cabinet] was using veterans as a political football. The leaders have written to the Minister of Veterans Affairs (MP Johnny Mercer), supporting the idea of a national offer for all vets.
“I fully support the leader on this and believe it should be a prerequisite for all veterans. However, we are in control of our leisure facilities, not the national government.
“This was nothing short of a political opportunity to attack the national government to the detriment of veterans in our home borough.”
Coun Chris Ready, came back with a similar argument he made during cabinet as to why they couldn’t roll out this scheme – it would cost too much, he told the full council. Currently, Wigan Council offers free gym membership for serving forces and to veterans for 12 months after they have left active duty.
Coun Ready said playing political football is exactly “what they didn’t want to do with this” as he recognised it was an emotive issue. The figure of just under £6,000 estimated by Coun Watson was based on the current number of veterans signed up to the scheme, which is less than 20.
Coun Ready explained that this cost is ‘not financially sustainable’ and could cost the council millions of pounds.