The volume of letters from PPC's appearing on the feedback pages is growing. Even UKIP have suddenly found their keyboard. This may explain why my letter on the bailout of the new council HQ was edited down by both the Croydon Advertiser and Croydon Guardian. Full version below:
The new council HQ saga stinks of the Conservatives helping out their rich developer friends. In this case its John Laing, who incidentally is on the short list to build the new incinerator under a front company called Resources from Waste. The controversy surrounding the new HQ is tricky to digest, not least because of all the acronyms involved. To summarise, the CEDC (Croydon Economic Development Company) is to receive a bail out from LEGI (Local Government Finance Initiative) – which is supposed to support businesses in deprived areas. At the same time, the Government’s PWLB (Public Works Loan Board) has provided £145m – which is effectively underwritten by the Croydon taxpayer - to finance the URV (Urban Regeneration Vehicle) which includes the new PSDH (Public Services Delivery Hub), which replaces Taberner House. The council is yet to provide an independent report showing that the existing building presents a health and safety risk. The trail is undoubtedly murky, leading voters to believe that something shady is happening behind closed doors. This is all the more so given that the number of empty office blocks in the town centre.
Additionally, Labour sensationalising the story in their literature by claiming the Tory Council “plans to build themselves a brand new luxury HQ” doesn’t help either. One assumes the council leader, Mike Fisher, is not planning to move out of his plush and spacious office at the town hall.
The worrying thing is there is no adjudicator in this deal. I contacted the PWLB to ask if they considered how the money was to be paid back and the level of risk involved? It cited the Local Government Act 2003 which states,”that a person lending money to a local authority shall not be bound to enquire whether the authority has power to borrow the money.”
Another point not being cleared up is whether the Council is to pay rent to a private company to use a publicly funded building that is occupied by public servants!
Just like the bailout for the banks, the only thing that that keeps ringing true is: ‘its socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest of us’.
Croydon Green Party--------------------------------------------------
Tags croydon, greenparty