Suffolk Councils Under Fire For Wasting Money

We live in an age of austerity and cuts. Services like youth centres and mental health support slashed, rural bus routes removed, payments introduced for removal of green waste and just recently swinging cuts to funding for the vital work of CAB.

We are told councils are strapped for cash – so we must just knuckle down and accept it. Yet just recently there have been three major reports of profligate spending by our Councils – who often fail to take into account that the money does not actually belong to them but that they are administering it on behalf of the taxpayer from which it’s sourced.

On April 1st SCDC and Waveney Councils finally merge into one Super District – East Suffolk. To mark the occasion councillors have decided to throw themselves a big party costing £15,000 for 450 guests at Snape Maltings.

Recently a communiqué was circulated asking for people’s positive memories of the passing SCDC council which could be celebrated at this event. I don’t know about you – but what comes to my mind is the mishandling of lottery money designated for the Spa Gardens which went instead to pay off disgruntled contractors, loss of vital services, a total disinterest in Felixstowe over a number of years by those in Woodbridge, and the much maligned Local Plan which seems to shoe horn a large majority of the Government housing quota for east Suffolk onto our AONB land.

Secondly Suffolk County Council have recently commissioned a report from think tank ResPublica- ‘Suffolk’s Strategic Housing Role’ – or put another way – ‘how do we shoehorn far too many houses into spaces not designed for them to fulfil our government housing quota and override the wishes of the local community with alacrity?’

This cost £66,000 and was published on the Council’s website on Feb 21st – yet it consists of only 14 pages which equates to £4,700 per page!

The Council defends the report with the words ‘it continues constructive conversations’. What! – I could do that for £5 over some cups of coffee!

Sarah Adams of the Labour Group put it more succinctly ‘To say this report is disappointing would be a gross understatement  ……. it is devoid of any discernible substance or purpose.’

There have been a number of SCC projects recently which have wasted an incredible amount of money including the Barley Homes joint housing venture which lost £70,000 after the plug was pulled without a single home being built and the £8 mill spent on the also axed Upper Orwell Crossing Project. These are not small amounts – not to the ordinary tax payer anyway.

Finally, SCC spent almost £95,000 over the last three years on awards events – one of the biggest spenders in the region. Now most would agree that it’s good to recognise achievement – but the average spend by other local councils in Suffolk and Essex was £18,000.

The Conservatives hold sway on all our local councils. Perhaps more opposition would be useful – something to bear in mind at the local elections in May. In Hadleigh local people have formed a new minor party which independents can stand under the banner of – decrying the fact that local councils are run on party lines. In Kirton and Trimley the call has gone out for independents to stand and oppose the Local Plan. Maybe it’s time for a sea change in the way we are represented on local councils – and the way they decide how to spend our money.

 

2 thoughts on “Suffolk Councils Under Fire For Wasting Money

  1. Thank you Felixstowe Spy for high lightening this dreadful waste of our money by elected councillors. To spend £15,000 on a “party” to celebrate the controversial merging of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils is quite unacceptable and an insult to every council tax payer. It is questionable if this expenditure is in fact legal? We the council tax payers who are to foot this bill should organise and demonstrate our disgust at Snape Malting on the day of this party.
    It has been very evident of late that the Conservative Councillors representing us on our local councils – County, District and Town – have no interest whatsoever in the views of those they represent but only their own views and interests are taken into account. We the residents should now say “enough is enough” The Felixstowe Spy is quite correct in stating the need for Independent Candidates to stand for election in the forthcoming elections in May. Now is the time to organise and encourage and assist those who are willing to independently represent us – LETS DO IT!!

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  2. I totally agree, this expenditure is unnecessary and a complete kick in the teeth for those worthy organisations who have had their council funding cut. Think what £15k could have done for a small local youth centre. If they wanted to throw a leaving party, they could do it at their own new premises – another huge waste of money! Those in charge of budgets at the council seem to be under the misapprehension that they are running a private company with profits to waste before the end of the tax year, rather than an organisation funded by the already-taxed incomes of residents (some of whom really struggle to pay their share), which is their to provide those residents with essential services and fund local worthy causes. Unfortunately getting rid of the councillors at election time is only one step – most of the decision making is done by unelected, employed officials who will continue to make these silly decisions and waste taxpayers’ money no matter which party/independent councillors are in the majority.

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