Monday, 22 April 2013

Letter to the Sentinel

Dear Sir,

Recently one of our March on Stoke members applied for a Freedom of Information request to the council regarding the outstanding loans our Council and its Officers have made the residents of Stoke on Trent liable for.

I was horrified to discover that we are currently in debt to the tune of nearly £280 million pounds to the Public Works Loans Board and that some of the loans are not due to mature until the 2050s. The information also shows that we are currently paying interest on those loans at a rate of £12.3 million pounds per year.

It also shows that our Labour led council borrowed £74.4 million in 2012 with yearly interest payments of £2.6 million.

With this huge outstanding debt hanging over the good people of this great city I cannot think of one good reason to continue with this controversial and uneconomical move of the civic centre from Stoke to Hanley. We don’t know how much this will cost as neither our Council Leader, Councillor Pervez nor Peter Bates, the Assistant Director for Financial Services are able to give us any answers other than it is a gamble that will bring businesses and jobs to Hanley and we should trust them to handle this kind of budget.

I don’t know how your readers will react to the information regarding our debts but I know that there is huge opposition to moving our Civic Centre. I feel that if the council goes ahead with this move in times of such great austerity and adds even more debt to the amounts that we already owe then it will not be a "brave and bold" decision it will be a reckless and a financial disaster.

More and more residents are seriously doubting our leader's financial competence and are joining with our March on Stoke members who have no confidence at all in the Labour Councillors and Officers running this city for the benefit of its residents.

Personally I feel that the Labour Party is doing to Stoke on Trent what it did to the country whilst it was in power.

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