Sunday, November 19, 2006

Huge cost of finding out what we already knew...

Our local council has just spent £600,000 of our money on a ballot to confirm what they already knew about council homes. This from a council that claims it can’t afford a decent concessionary fare for elderly and disabled people – and which even abolished its free rat-catching service to save a few bob.

Now we know what South Kesteven District Council meant a couple of years ago in its “consultation” exercise to change its policies. The voice of the Deepings was loud and clear – particularly on the farcical concessionary fares scheme.

But they refused to listen.

Before they bulldozed ahead with their plans to sell-off (giveaway) our council homes at a knock-down price, the Government required a proper ballot of their own tenants.

The message from the tenants was already clear enough: No thanks.

But the dinosaurs who run SKDC - our elected district councillors - had their heads in the sand and thought a glossy expensive campaign could change tenants' minds.

The campaign did change minds - the "No" vote was even more convincing than predicted.

Both our local papers mention the staggering cost to council taxpayers of refusing to listen, though almost in passing.

The Bourne Local splashes on the “Tenants say no to home sell-off” and report:
The final figure has yet to be calculated, but the council estimates that the total cost of the housing sell-off consultation is in the region of £600,000.
The overwhelming ballot result only makes page 2 of the Stamford Mercury – the tragic death of a Stamford schoolgirl makes their splash.

Cost of the farce makes the last line of the Mercury story:
The ballot was organised by Electoral Reform Services at a cost of £600,000 to council tax payers.
I hope they are held to account at the local elections next May.

4 comments:

Brynley said...

This is a troubling business that will reverberate around South Kesteven for a very long time.

Why were some South Kesteven housing staff effectively made over to the proposed South Lincs Homes?

Why did the propaganda caravan (that's 'caravan' literally and also figuratively) refer tenants to a supposedly impartial housing organisation, which was in fact supporting the proposed sell off?

[not that it did then any good, like]

most curious of all, why did Tory councillors curl up into a ball and refer tenants to something known as "the facts" rather than argue the case for the sell off?

[that's always assuming they had a case].

When it became obvious that Councils were losing the sell off votes, why didn't Chief Exec Duncan Kerr recommend to the elected cabinet that the ballot be pulled?

A strange, damaging and rather behind-the-curve performance by SK as with vermin control, as with public transport.

fairdealphil said...

£600,000 would catch a lot of rats.

enigman said...

Morag says she'll catch anything you like for £600,000! I think she is feeling slightly peculiar after a night out in Buxton, so I'll give her some stomach salts.

fairdealphil said...

enigman:

sorry to hear morag is not her usual self.

it's not unusual to feel out of sorts after a night out in buxton.