Mansfield Council Spending

Cllr Harvey informs us that the Mayor has spent another £15million of
borrowed money on an investment property in Maidenhead. This should come
as no surprise to him though because, as part of the Independent group until
recently, he was party to this policy of investing outside of Mansfield rather
than within the district. Now that he’s jumped ship and joined the Tories, he
thinks it’s outrageous. Funny world, politics. However, the Mayor and her team
have planned to spend £24million this financial year, most if not all of it
borrowed money.

Mansfield and many other Councils have been drawn to this desperate
measure by the massive cuts to the money they would normally get from
central government and hope to make up the shortfall by snapping up
commercial property on borrowed money where the income exceeds the
interest they pay. This approach of putting all your eggs in one basket has been
criticised by former members of the Audit Commission who worry about a
downturn in the commercial property sector; in particular the hotels that the
Council are keen on investing in are currently under threat from Airbnb who do
not have the same overheads. It is a contradiction though that the Mayor
expects the private sector to have enough confidence to build a hotel in
Mansfield yet she invests in hotels outside of Mansfield.

The other problem that the Council faces is that the Mayor has painted herself
into a corner by refusing to allow even modest increases in Council Tax; this is
nothing to brag about when we see our district dying on its feet. All hopes are
pinned on this desperate measure of using borrowed money to spend outside
our area, as well as ending services and selling off assets.

Such is the secrecy that even the Councillors you elect cannot find out what
the Mayor intends to spend Council money on and won’t know until long after
the event what the Mayor has actually bought. Your chance to change all this
will come at next May’s elections; we’ve never had a Labour Mayor – it really is
time for a change.

Paul Bradshaw
Mansfield Labour Party

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