Sarah Hill Resigns

Sarah Hill councillor for Springfields and Trent Vale has resigned from the city council after being removed from her cabinet position at the Labour AGM last night.

All details for Sarah Hill have been removed from the council website.

Rumour from the Civic Centre is that Sarah’s departure is just the first as the Labour group tightens its hold on members and takes a dim view of anyone who doesn’t toe the party line. Continue reading

Get the right deal for Port Vale and the taxpayers

Recently taxpayers have lost money on the Dimensions fiasco, £2million lost in government funding to freeze council tax and now another massive loss to Port Vale.

I can hear the groans of the Vale supporters, that rightly want to keep their club open, and yes, the council helped Stoke City and yes they paid the money back.

Many decisions like this one are driven by emotion rather than good business sense and the council should not be swayed into throwing money at any businessman wanting to buy a football club on the cheap. Continue reading

Tristram Hunt on the Future of Socialism

I was listening on Radio 4 last Monday to the start the week programme which debated the future of Socialism. The debate was framed around the sensational victory of George Galloway in Bradford and to reinforce some of the discussions on tonight’s Newsnight.

Tristram felt that the death of Socialism was rather premature and although the statist model of the eastern bloc had been repudiated after 1989 and the fall of communism other forms of socialism were coming to the fore. Tristram mentioned co-operatives and mutuals, which does interest me through my involvement in Leek. Continue reading

Fenton Town Hall

I read somewhere of the commitment of former Labour Councillor Stan Bate to protecting the heritage of Fenton especially the Town Hall.

All well and good as it’s a fine late Victorian building and his passion for defending what is a jewel has to be commended.

It’s a pity that Stan, who to be fair to him, memory might be hazy of events a quarter of a century ago has perhaps forgotten the stance he took on Longton Town Hall in the late 80s when Ellis Bevan and other concerned citizens of the town campaigned to save the building. Continue reading

Why a political elected Police Commissioner is a dangerous idea

Next November there will be the election for local Police Commissioners in Staffordshire and Stoke – as it will be everywhere else in the country. It is likely that all the main political parties will be entering candidates. Already there seems evidence that the party HQs are controlling the business about who becomes the candidate. In North Wales, for instance, the local Labour Party is accused of trying to impose a short list of three without internal party debate. The other political parties will want to control the process. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent City Council formally applies for administration of Port Vale Football Club

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has confirmed this evening that it has made a formal application to the High Court to put Port Vale Football Club into Administration.

Councillor Mohammed Pervez, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said

We have throughout this very complex and sensitive process always kept our focus on protecting the public purse while working towards safeguarding the future of Port Vale Football Club. Continue reading

No pay offer to local government employees for third consecutive year

The 1.6 million local government employees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are being informed that in order to protect funding to vital frontline services and reduce further job losses, no pay offer will be made to local government employees for 2012/13.

Sarah Messenger, LGA Head of Workforce, said

This has been a very difficult decision to make but it is the right one for council tax payers and the workforce as a whole. A combination of rising costs and shrinking local government funding means councils were left with little choice. Increasing pay would mean more job losses and cuts to the services people need. Continue reading

City Sentral Another Week

Another week on and another Council Budget agreed with pledge to spend £12million and complete Hanley Ring Road, after the last proposal for another Hotel and another Casino failed to materialise and increase our Council Tax by 3.49%

Oddly enough my first suggestion for a retailer to contact on their interest in our City came from a local Councillor, Cllr Rosenau suggested on twitter for her followers to contact Hotel Chocolat about coming to Hanley. Who I am to ignore Cabinet Member for Regeneration she must know a thing or two. So I send off my email hoping above hopes that this will be the first positive response ( I have insider information dont I ) but sadly no yet another negative reply Continue reading

Tax Payers Alliance name Sarah Hill Pin Head of the month for February

Sarah Hill TPA pinhead of the monthThe Tax Payers Alliance have voted Councillor Sarah Hill, the Stoke-on-Trent City Council Cabinet Member for Finance as their Pin Head of the month for February.

According to the TPA Sarah is the driving force behind moves to refuse the Government’s funding that would enable a council tax freeze in Stoke-on-Trent this year and instead is pushing ahead with a 3.49% increase in bills at a time when many residents are struggling with the rising cost of living. On Thursday Sarah and her fellow councillors were set to vote through this rise, despite previous TPA research and official statistics pointing to areas where costs are already running too high, such as Continue reading

Landsbanki make £1.5m payment to Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Stoke-on-Trent City Council announced today it was one of the 80 councils that has received its first repayment from money owed after the collapse of the Icelandic bank, Landsbanki.

The city council received £1.5m of its £5m owed and is expecting more installments in the future. Stoke-on-Trent City Council lost the money in the Icelandic banking crash after an email, sent by the council’s credit agency, which showed a downward review of Landsbanki’s credit rating, was not acted upon by one of the council’s officers.

Sarah Hill, cabinet member for finance, said this morning

This is excellent news for the city council and a well-deserved success for the Local Government Association (LGA) and its partners in the Supreme Court case. The way in which we have co-ordinated the legal action with the LGA, and other local authorities is an example of our effectiveness as a council, we have minimised legal costs and provided excellent value for money for the taxpayer.

This is very welcomed money for the council, £1.5m is a lot of money but it isn’t new money, it is money we were confident we would get back and is already committed for capital expenditure over the next few years.

So unfortunately it doesn’t change the budget proposals before the council later this week. However it is good that after four years we know for certain we will get most of our money back from Landsbanki.

The legal action was, coordinated by the Local Government Association, to secure priority creditor status for UK local authorities following the winding up of Landsbanki and another bank Glitnir. Local authority funds worth £413m were held by Landsbanki when it collapsed in 2008, and the LGA expects some 98% to be eventually recovered.

LGA chair Sir Merrick Cockell, said

This is the result of four years of hard work on behalf of the sector and we are absolutely delighted that we have been able to help more than 80 local authorities.