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In Full . . .

Remember this at the ballot box

Posted on March 30 2015 at 2:03:39

At the Full Meeting of Bromsgrove District Council in February, the ruling Conservative Group agreed to pass on only a pathetic £87,000 in New Homes Bonus payments to local communities in the next year, despite the council receiving some £1.3 million in NHB payments from central Government (which includes back-dated payments from homes built in previous years).
This means that the council is only passing on to communities a derisory 7 per cent of the huge amount of money they are receiving. Of 100 other councils nationally who pass on the NHB money, virtually all pass on some 40 per cent.

It is also appalling that the council has failed to pass on a single penny in NHB in the first four years of the scheme, which was launched by the Government in 2010.

Even the £87,000 is only being passed on now because of the district-wide campaign initiated by villagers and backed by hundreds and hundreds of people who signed the original 1,429-name petition which obliged the council to act in some way via its own Petitions Scheme.

The result is that villages such as Alvechurch, Wythall, Barnt Green and others have effectively been denied huge sums in public funding by the district council, which could be spent on community centres, village halls, scouts and guides facilities, local sports facilities and so on.

Conservative district councillors who are responsible for representing the best interests of villagers have clearly failed to do so in relation to this issue.

Throughout the two NHB public forums the council held in 2014, which dozens of local people attended, in my opinion the Conservative councillors have been arrogant and have clearly failed to listen to the legitimate claims of local community leaders who have rightly asked for hundreds of thousands of pounds to be passed on to them, for spending on community facilities and groups.

It is clear that while the Conservatives rule the council, only limited amounts of this bonus money will be passed on to communities, if any at all.

On the same night that the Conservatives voted through their own budget for 2015/16 which included only £87,000 in NHB, the Independent Alliance Group presented their alternative budget, which proposed £406,000 in NHB to communities.

The council’s accounts show that it currently has close to £4 million in reserves, with yearly surpluses over the past four years totalling some £2 million, so there are clearly huge amounts of money available for this scheme.

I hope that people in villages such as Alvechurch, Wythall and Barnt Green, and in other areas across the district, remember the way their local Conservative councillors have treated their communities on this issue when it comes to the district elections in May, and vote for their local Independent candidate so that those communities and others can fully benefit from this scheme.

Peter Rowbottom
Lead Petitioner
New Homes Bonus
 


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