HOW OUR COMMUNITY IS DEPRIVED OF INVESTMENT BY "SUPER CONSERVATISM" O…

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HOW OUR COMMUNITY IS DEPRIVED OF INVESTMENT BY "SUPER CONSERVATISM"

One of the things I have learned in my nearly 30 years of involvement in local government is that the public are rarely interested in the finances – even though it is the oil that keeps public services running.

I don't think it is right for any Council to squirrel away money which has either been collected directly from taxpayers or from the contributions of developers. This is money that is supposed to be used for the benefit of the community, not just sitting in a bank account (not even earning any interest to speak of these days).

Totton & Eling Town Council has reserves which it can call upon should there ever be a crisis.

At a meeting this week, I questioned the wisdom of it also holding onto £500,000 of developer contributions that it holds, when it is neither earning any interest or being used for the benefit of the town.

Interestingly, the Conservative Chairman of the Committee, refused to discuss the matter, or even schedule it in for discussion at a future meeting. It's a form of "Super Conservatism", a belief that you are being prudent by never spending what you have acquired, having reserves on top of reserves.

My belief is that the Council should use that money, perhaps allocating £50,000 every year for the next ten year period to invest in things like improving the Town Centre, supporting community facilities and organisations that are doing such great work with so little resources.

Looking ahead, in future years, the Town Council is very likely to receive more sums of significant money from developer contributions. Why deprive the people who could benefit from the investment now, especially as we recover from a pandemic?

I might not have been able to change the way the Council runs its' finances but shining a light on this issue never does any harm…..

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