Over the last year I have become increasingly despondent with the council’s attitude to what is required in the locality, particularly management of spending. This is why I have decided to run for the position of Independent Councillor for the local people of Ford Green & Smallthorne.
Cllr Dave Conway, current Councillor for the Burslem North ward, who has done a lot of work in the Smallthorne area, has kindly given me his backing/endorsement to carry on the good work he has been doing in the area. On a walk around the area I soon discovered how welcomed his work was and how hard he has been working with the various communities around Smallthorne.
I have lived in the Tunstall area for 20 years so therefore understand the problems that we face and can therefore respect your fears and concerns, for the present and the future, I would like the chance to work on your behalf to make Stoke-on-Trent a better place to live for the young, the families, and the elderly. If you decide to vote for me I pledge to carry on the work of Cllr Dave Conway.
During the last few months our City Councillors, our elected representatives, have been condemning the national government for a reduction in the amount of funding they give the City. They are using this as an excuse to close many of our loved services such as Swimming Pools in Shelton and Tunstall and the City Farm.
What they have failed to shout so loudly about is that our elected representatives are also adding £7million to a Contingency fund (for some future use) as well as upping the amount they put into a reserved pot (for a rainy day) from £0.5million a year to £1.5million a year.
How can Labour claim that they are forced to close our services when they are putting money aside while communities are fighting to set up trusts to run these services, could Labour not spare a bit of that £8.5 million to help communities?
Labour Councillor Debra Gratton proposed the Closure of seven Children’s Centres saying “If we don’t do it, the danger is someone else will do it for us”, Now Labour have the nerve on some of their election leaflets to claim to have saved the “Children’s Centres”. Can we believe anything Labour now says in the City? They appear to have no long term policies, and change their mind depending on if they are in power or in opposition.
Labour have allowed the Cities finances to become a complete shambles. while reading through the councils recent invoices I was mystified/horrified to find an invoice for £24,095.26 for expenses on a PETTY cash return, to some £24,095.26 may not be a lot of money but I certainly don’t class it as petty cash and I also think that for such large amounts the descriptions are extremely vague. Another invoice was for Rent of £12,500 but this was classified as Miscellaneous expenses. How can the council complete accurate audits of its property portfolio unless rent payments are classified as RENT?
If elected this would be one of my first aims to attempt to make the Finance dept more open and transparent to both Councillors and the Public, only when Finances are in order can the money available be used correctly to provide the services the public need.