|"Has anyone got a couple of AA batteries for my calculator?"|
Hypocrisy is an attitude that appears to have been enthusiastically embraced by certain senior members of Tameside’s council.
More and more we read in our local papers, council press releases lecturing us about imposed financial prudency by people who would have us overlook their own monetary shortcomings.
Take this example, written by Tameside council leader, Kieran Quinn on his latest blog:
KQ: “One of Tameside Council’s most pressing duties is looking after the public money with which it is entrusted. During times as uncertain as the ones we are currently experiencing, it is vitally important that we not only spend that money wisely but also plan carefully for the future”
Now tell me how that statement squares with the Key Decision Notice passed by the Executive Cabinet regarding speculating over £291,000 on a 3 year Christmas Market?
The first paragraph reads:
The principle of a Christmas Market is to promote Ashton Town Centre as a Christmas shopping venue. It should be viewed as a long term commitment and even if successful in the early years it will still take several years to break even.
The Strategic Planning and Capital Monitoring Panel on 1 July gave approval, subject to an appropriate Key Decision, for £69k capital funding and £97k revenue funding per year for 3 years (total £291k) for the scheme. After which a decision will need to be taken whether the Christmas Market should continue or not. As part of this, consideration should be given to the on-going financing of the Christmas Market.
On-going monitoring will need to take place to ensure the costs are kept within this allocated budget. It is proposed that the income from stall rental will be used to offset some of the events running costs.
Cabin rental charges for the first year of operation (2013) are set at £200 for the two week period with a £25 early bird discount to all applications received before 15 November 2013.
(4) The Deputy Executive Leader (John Taylor) will annually review and set the cabin rental price with a view to increasing rents to £275 for the duration of the 2014 event (with a £25 early bird discount) and £350 for the duration of the 2015 event (with a £25 early bird discount).
(5) To implement the decision at (1) above, approval be given pursuant to Procurement Standing Order D.12(3) to accept the tender of New Image where fewer than three tenders have been received.*
So for an outlay of £291,000 the council expects an income of a measly £24,750
That, dear taxpayer is a loss of £266,250 (two hundred and sixty six thousand, two hundred and fifty pounds!)
If this is an example of how this Labour run council is ‘spending money wisely and planning carefully for the future' - then God help us!