Councillor Stuart Barker is Conservative representative for Ashburton and Buckfastleigh, and Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for adult services. Barker seems to be the fall-guy for the decision to close all council-run residential care homes in Devon. It’s our assumption that Council Leader John Hart made this decision and told Barker to get on with it. Barker attracts all the opprobrium. Nice work Cllr Hart.
Barker’s method of dealing with questions or criticism over these proposals is to bore the other party into submission, a) by endlessly repeating unsupported facts and meaningless declarations; and b) by attacking the record of other political parties.
In 2011 DCC was severely criticised for paying a consultant £186,000 per year plus expenses to be an interim assistant director for in-house provider services (whatever the hell that is). The councillor responsible was Stuart Barker.
In 2012 Devon County Council was found to be acting unlawfully in imposing care home fees. The council failed to consider the differing needs of elderly and dementia sufferers. The councillor responsible was Stuart Barker.
Ironically, these are the very homes Barker is relying on to take a bunch of annoying old people off his hands. However, these homes could still be at risk.
When not dismantling the homes of old people, Stuart likes to hob-nob with the local MP over tea and sandwiches on the pavilion. Cricket? Well we all love to see gentlemen in flannels chucking balls around, but giving them money in austerity Britain? As opposed to, say… old people?
But Cllr Barker has a particularly hard-nosed approach to communities and the vulnerable:
Community fights to keep property.
Homeless targeted for further cuts.
Road junction more important than local services.
Councillor Barker has an interesting past and unlike most of his fellow councillors has run some businesses. These are often close to council business – notably directorships in Enterprise South Devon, Teignbridge Business Centre and a screen-printing business that has declared supply to DCC. Do tell us more if you know. It’s amazing what you can find with a little searching. For example: Enterprise South Devon is notorious in having made employment case law by being taken to an employment tribunal by it’s own managing director for unfair dismissal. Not unusual in itself, but the case was thrown out by the tribunal because the MD in question was paying herself through a sham services company, in a contract ‘tainted by illegallity’. There’s no suggestion that the ESD board were complicit in this arrangement – but it’s incredibly incompetent.
And Cllr Barker has been put in charge of serious issues like care homes – it beggars belief.
Stuart Barker lives in Buckfastleigh, and lists yacht racing amongst his hobbies – an activity memorably likened to ‘standing under a cold shower tearing up £50 notes’. He also enjoys being taken for walkies by Cllr Hart – good boy Barky!
You won’t be surprised to hear that Buckfastleigh Town Council – jointly led by Barker – is so utterly useless that local people have decided enough is enough and are organising themselves to get rid of the dead weight of tribal politics. Buckfastleigh Independents Group