Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Egbert

Council loans

Recommended Posts

I see on the news pages today that our council wants to lend money to Warrington Collegiate.  I'm not suggesting that the Collegiate is not a worthy cause, but given the financial constraints the council claims to be under, should it be lending money to anyone?   Some councillors, of all parties, are not happy about it. I am not surprised!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds to me like the old split in the local Labour Party surfacing again,  with the Lib Dems and Tories making the most of it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Council has been used as a cash cow for years, by a contact circle of the local establishment, just look for the players and who they know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same place as the Government Coffee. By claiming there's a 'credit crunch', cutting public services and then having a jolly old spending spree.

 

Why do the Collegiate need a loan? can, how and when will they pay it back?

Even if there were exceptional circumstances for the Collegiate needing a loan could this really justify the cutting of essential services to those who need them most?

 

Local politics is one really strange animal!

One would think that a local council would be trying to set an example of how priorities would be set and how things could be done across the country under a Govt headed by their own party.

But this never seems to be the case whichever political group is in no 10 or whichever political group is in, in the town hall.

Locally, there always seems to be the same little group of two or so council officers and a handful of councillors (of mixed political persuasion) who make all the major decisions leaving the vast majority of the town's councillors to faff around with issues such as potholes, littering and dog dirt.

Beats me why we have so many 'councillors' or even why we bother having local elections.

Perhaps we should just have a public vote every 20 years or so to appoint a top council officer. That would save some cash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds to me like the old split in the local Labour Party surfacing again,  with the Lib Dems and Tories making the most of it

Can't speak for others, but I issued an email warning to the Administration about this proposed loan on 7th July, which was prior to the Executive Board meeting, and with a track record of being a critical friend, it is a great disappointment that they didn't heed my warning. I'm really not interested in Labour infighting, only trying to protect taxpayers' money and WBC's reputation. What will be interesting to see now is if the Collegiate withdraw their loan request.

 

Kind Regards

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Paul, It's nice to know that not all councillors are just sitting back whilst the 'top few' are making all the major decisions.

And credit where it's due - you have I've noted on other previous occasions 'spoken your piece' and acted whilst the majority of other councillors have seemed to adopt a silent and passive stance.

 

But - why when you as an individual councillor oppose a decision do you class it as "only trying to protect taxpayer's money and WBC's reputation" yet when any individual councillor /s of the Labour party oppose the same decision it is "Labour infighting" or as Adam calls it " the old split in the Labour Party surfacing again" ?

 

Democracy is about everyone having a say. I actually find the differences of opinion that are expressed by Labour councillors periodically quite reassuring in that these councillors actually feel free to express their individual opinions.

In a number of past issues I've noted that though individual councillors have quietly expressed their opposition to their party leaders views, they have never had the guts to openly and publicly oppose them and just followed their leaders like sheep. This was typical during the term the Lib Dems were in the town hall.

 

Like I said earlier I think that there are just a few officers and a handful of councillors (of mixed political persuasion) that are making all the major decisions - so it's refreshing when someone, ANYONE, from any political party expresses a view in the interests of the general public.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has often been said that councils should operate more business like.

I presume the loan was a business decision with a planned return of investment.

Councils can often loan monies at good rates.

Like any loan situation there is a risk - and the council obviously considered the collegiate to be a good risk.

I doubt this would have ever become an issue if everyone could bat for the same team for the benefit of Warrington - sadly a rare occurence in politics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Warrington Borough Council doesn't in my opinion have a very good record with regards to previous 'business ventures'.

 

Who in their right minds would have even considered selling off a valuable asset like Walton Hall and Gardens for a quid?

Who else could get the financial details so wrong that they claimed the estate was running at a loss of over £450,000 when after a freedom of information request and analysis of the details it was seen in actual fact to be running at quite a healthy profit?

 

Some time ago, on a previous thread, WBC's loans to A Housing Association group was discussed in detail, there was plenty of evidence to show that this was an extremely risky affair and that others who had embarked on the same type of 'business venture' had come seriously unstuck.

 

Also, it's got to be noted that neither of the above 'business ventures' were of benefit to the people of Warrington.

 

You say Gary that "the council obviously considered the Collegiate to be a good risk".

As part of the proposed loan is to be used by the Collegiate to pay off an existing loan that they are having trouble repaying it seems to me to be more like 'a hell of a risk'. Also, as the dissenters have shown, not ALL of the councillors think it's so good a risk.

 

I think there would be quite a number of the general public who like me think that it's downright obscene that in this day and age, when we have growing numbers of homeless people, people having to go to food banks and services for the most vulnerable groups having been cut, that WBC could even consider playing a type of Russian Roulette with public money.

 

I'm sorry Gary but expecting people to 'bat for the business community' whilst the most vulnerable suffer is just not cricket!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WBC should not be even contemplating handing out loans (whether they are deemed to be a good business decision or not) when they are pleading poverty and cutting services to the people that pay the council tax and expect their bins emptying on time. I don't give two hoots if the Collegiate is short of cash; if that is really the case then they should get rid of some courses, some staff and if needed, get rid of land and property to fund their own activiteis.... they shouldn't be taking money off vulnerable tax payers who need it a damned sight more than some snotty kid who wants to study home economics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WBC should not be even contemplating handing out loans (whether they are deemed to be a good business decision or not) when they are pleading poverty and cutting services to the people that pay the council tax and expect their bins emptying on time. I don't give two hoots if the Collegiate is short of cash; if that is really the case then they should get rid of some courses, some staff and if needed, get rid of land and property to fund their own activiteis.... they shouldn't be taking money off vulnerable tax payers who need it a damned sight more than some snotty kid who wants to study home economics

 

That is not really fair as the government is going to be with holding benefits from snotty kids who are not studying or working. The collage also provides courses for people who are unemployed or want qualifications to earn more and get better jobs.

 

However we have a council that can afford to make these loans not only to the collage but to housing trusts, to build brand new offices, to relay roads that I am not sure need relaying, to replace lamp posts (even though in the long run they might save the council money) while cutting services.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coffee says...."The collage also provides courses for people who are unemployed or want qualifications to earn more and get better jobs."

 

Aye, Coffee it does - but doesn't money come direct from Govt for those?

 

Has it been disclosed just WHAT the Collegiate want these extra millions for?

 

WWW News page item 31st July talk of 'a mutually beneficial arrangement' between the Collegiate and the Peace Centre !??? Is this to include some kind of financial benefit I wonder?

 

Is it just me or do others wonder about the logic in the current trend of organisations taking on the roles and responsibilities of others?

We've got housing associations taking on the responsibilities of job centres - when they can't even provide homes for the homeless. Now the Collegiate wants to team up with a Charity.

Why don't they just stick to their own jobs - and try to do them properly!

 

And more to the point - why don't they organise their own budgets to fund any fanciful diversions to their set roles rather than expecting the Town Hall to bleed public services to give them handouts.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See that the charity "Kids Company" has closed because they appear to have run out of money.... even after getting £3 million from the government only a few weeks ago. Seems the charity costs £24 million a year to run its projects in London Bristol and Liverpool 

 

£24 million?????? to run a few homes and a performing arts studio???? It will be interesting to see how much its top directors are paid and how much property they own outright etc.... charity really is big business

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems that, after calls for scrutiny,  the Collegiate has decided it no longer wants the £11+ million loan from WBC. So will we ever get any details on just what this massive loan was for?

 

According to recent news articles the Collegiate and Peace Centre want to team up with regard to the PREVENT programme.

The PREVENT programme is one of four programmes for dealing with terrorism (prevention of radicalisation and de-radicalisation). PREVENT received £40million govt funding countrywide last year and has been deemed a failure, so it's possible that there will be no, or less, govt funds for the future.

Is this the reason the Collegiate wanted money from WBC? 

 

Even though they have withdrawn from the loan agreement with WBC, whatever money the Collegiate spends is public money so shouldn't someone be scrutinising and informing the public of their proposed plans?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would seem that not much has changed over the past 20 years when it comes to these public bodies being a license to print money. Despite the ever shrinking public purse, it seems there is an endless supply of cash for some of the higher profile organisations and top up cash for a lot of the larger charities. It tends to be the smaller charities that dip out by the looks of things

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So seeing as the college no longer wants the loan is there any indication on what the council is going to waste spend the money on. after all if they have this money now "going spare" then they will have to spend it on something? (bet it's not potholes, unless they are going to install a few more that is) :mrgreen:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×