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

Charlton House is one of the buildings in Greenwich Heritage Trust

Cllr Chris Roberts

Cllr Spencer Drury

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

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.

News Shopper: 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.

News Shopper: Charlton House

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.

News Shopper: Greenwich Council Leader Councillor Chris Roberts at the construction ceremony

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."

SPENDING

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)

 

Comments (3)

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12:11pm Tue 28 Jan 14

TonyMcG says...

Yet they wont clean the streets or communal greens on the Middle Park estate, All you get to making a complaint is an automated email.
Yet they wont clean the streets or communal greens on the Middle Park estate, All you get to making a complaint is an automated email. TonyMcG
  • Score: 3

6:40pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Womblingbarnacle says...

Shame so much of the borough looks like a complete dump then. Do the council, its staff, and councillors care so little for so much of the borough? Charlton, New Eltham, Abbey Wood, Plumstead, East Greenwich, Thamesmead, Plumstead (upper and lower) are all crying out for improvements. So much is filthy, neglected and a mess.

Do those in charge never leave the borough boundaries and see how much better things can be, and are, all over London and the UK?
Shame so much of the borough looks like a complete dump then. Do the council, its staff, and councillors care so little for so much of the borough? Charlton, New Eltham, Abbey Wood, Plumstead, East Greenwich, Thamesmead, Plumstead (upper and lower) are all crying out for improvements. So much is filthy, neglected and a mess. Do those in charge never leave the borough boundaries and see how much better things can be, and are, all over London and the UK? Womblingbarnacle
  • Score: 2

6:42pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Womblingbarnacle says...

Oh, and Woolwich of course. They have put in the nice square but the rest, particularly the less popular shopping parts look god awful. In fact I'd say only 25% of the borough (at best) looks anywhere near decent.

They are failing on a massive and systemic scale to make a place that is attractive to live, work and visit.
Oh, and Woolwich of course. They have put in the nice square but the rest, particularly the less popular shopping parts look god awful. In fact I'd say only 25% of the borough (at best) looks anywhere near decent. They are failing on a massive and systemic scale to make a place that is attractive to live, work and visit. Womblingbarnacle
  • Score: 3

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