Greenwich Council spending £100m of taxpayers' money 'like water' ahead of May election (From News Shopper)
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Greenwich Council spending £100m of taxpayers' money 'like water' ahead of May election
Tall Ships are one of the 'pet projects' Greenwich Council has been accused of 'spending taxpayers' money like water' on
GREENWICH Council has been accused of "spending taxpayers’ money like water" in the run-up to May’s election after shelling out more than £100m since August.
The "unprecedented" spending spree aims to make the Labour-run council look good ahead of the election, according to Greenwich Conservative leader Councillor Spencer Drury.
Around £120m was spent between August and December last year compared to around £19 million for the same period in 2012, under figures compiled by Greenwich Conservatives.
Cllr Drury also claims "pet projects", such as the Tall Ships Regatta and Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, serve as a "legacy" to Labour leader Councillor Chris Roberts, who announced he intends to step down following the election.
He said: "This level of spending is unprecedented. "The Labour council normally squirrels away money to spend in the run up to an election; however, with Cllr Roberts pledging to step down after the election, it seems the council is now spending money like water.
"This is a real concern as the council’s reserves are being committed to spending in the future and the new leader of the council, after the elections, may struggle to undo the damage that is being done now."
It comes as a report to a council committee recently revealed the government has presented Greenwich Council with an extra £1.7m in funds for the next financial year.
A Greenwich Council spokesman said: "These questions show a lack of understanding of the details of the council’s finances and the wide range of external funding streams available.
"The council has delivered a value for money approach to funding its strategic ambitions which has been endorsed by independent auditors who have praised our financial management and reaffirmed the viability of our plans.
"For instance the council will build a construction skills centre using a government grant, Town Hall refurbishment works will be funded from the sale of surplus buildings and the Peninsula heating company will be paid for from grant funding made available by the Mayor Of London."
Figures compiled by Conservative Group Whip Cllr Adam Thomas August to December 2013 (a sample)
- Communal buildings window cleaning £4,8500
- Regeneration of Mabel Polley House £5,000,000
- Woodhill School expansion £2,750,000
- Window replacement - various £656,796
- Orchard Estate refurb £1,670,380
- East Area kitchen and bathroom renewals £1,172,637
- Replacement lifts £1,306,714
- Replacement lifts £1,008,756
- Borough wide asbestos removal £962,125
- Boiler replacements £1,140,044
- Enhancements to river transport infrastructure £2,100,000
- Sutcliffe Park Sports centre £7,600,000
- Local Labour Initiative - Highways improvements UNDISCLOSED
- Two new industrial estates UNDISCLOSED
- Tall ships regatta £500,000
- New playground equipment £115,893
- School place planning £12,700,000
- TOTAL - £120m
August to December 2012 (A sample)
- Temporary classrooms £500,000
- Relocation of childrens social care centre £400,000
- Purchase of Poundland UNDISCLOSED
- Foot tunnels additional expenditure UNDISCLOSED
- Purchase of shepherds leas housing estate UNDISCLOSED
- Tourism DMO £1,950,000
- Refurb of 28 lifts UNDISCLOSED
- Schools capital programme £12,600,000
- Mental health accommodation £1,182,097
- Communal decorations £1,595,256
- Various minor contractual changes and extensions £1,249,288
- TOTAL - £19m
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