If ever there was a tenacious embodiment of the Lib Dem spirit that never gives up it is George Turner who stood against Kate Hoey in Lambeth. He increased the Lib Dem vote share through running an outstanding campaign based on giving Lambeth citizens better representation on Brexit issues against Kate Hoey, an arch Brexiter. Lambeth has not seen the last of George.
He is part of a group of local residents who have undertaken a ‘People’s Audit’ of Lambeth Borough’s accounts and the extent of failings and mismanagement that they have uncovered makes one wonder just how it is that colossal amounts of money is being frittered away by councils.
If the austerity cuts weren’t enough in failing to give people proper access to public services unnecessary financial overspend and mismanagement at local council level severely further compounds the burden of cuts.
After the Grenfell tragedy, it is now apparent that recipients of poor public services suffer the most and, in extreme cases, stand to lose their lives. Set within a context of a heightened awareness of how local councils break their social contracts with their borough’s residents, this report makes for a shocking read.
The report alleges that Lambeth council has overpaid building contractors for work on council estates, found an ‘appearance’ of price-fixing in building contracts, that there was a lack of oversight on what it spent, high compensatory costs for disrepair, the cost of refurbishing Lambeth town hall was doubled, council assets were sold below market value, inconsistency over salary and redundancy levels and a lack of transparency over contracts to do with Greenwich Leisure Limited.
It is quite clear that another layer of governance, if that is the right word, that lacks transparency, accountability and financial prudency exists at local level. Is it costing us less teachers, less hospital staff, library closures? I am no accountant but I am quite sure that I am not far wrong in guessing what it is that people are losing out on.