BANKRUPT COUNCILS IN THE UK
RATEPAYERS DEMAND BETTER - Councils owe tax payers a duty to provide value for money. Not to overpay executives, or provide gilt edged pensions. Let alone other benefits, like planning consents for their mates. Over development at cost to others living in the region, simply to get their hands on CIL payments. A very short term fix.
Where are all our Council Taxes going, and is charging the electorate fair and reasonable without a Contract, or Transparency? When clearly, quite a few Conservative led councils are trading insolvent, making investments that are not agreed with Rate Payers. If that is the case their Bills (Notices) are challenged as to legality, would you have to pay where the deemed Contract, is then rendered Null and Void. That is the question.
Then there are the potholes, and high energy prices. And the less said about the lack of infrastructure for EVs, the better. With no way of storing all that free power from offshore wind turbines. And yes, recover all that money wasted paying the operators to turn their turbines off. That is the crazy world of Pothole Party, fossil fuel based senile politics.
There is a contract as to the condition of roads. We pay through the nose for it, and a Council is responsible for those repairs in each geographical region.
Given the above, would you be deemed sane voting for a Conservative led local authority, that continually overspends and rewards incompetence with higher pensions and salaries - that you are now being asked to pay for. To cap it all, in a cost of living and climate crisis, they have the ability to restore sense, but lack the capacity for change. There is nothing conservative about it. It's very Nazi and Slave Trader in concept. Meaning that not much has changed in several hundred years, except that the British Empire no longer steals native Africans to grow cotton and tobacco, but enslaves those within the British Isles.
UNFORTUNATELY, IT'S NO JOKE - The Anti-Christ of British politics, candidates like Boris Johnson and Margaret Thatcher, treat the electorate like disposable assets. British Empire days and slavery - with no thought of fairness or being reasonable. Spend, spend, spend. Borrow, Borrow, borrow. Hopefully, the Big Red Bus 'lie' will at some point change British statute, to prevent the lesser informed electorate from being deceived, and so, in effect, voting to increase national debt and ultimately hardship. And that includes potholed roads and a strapped NHS. Election campaign rules in the UK should carry a Government Health Warning. Invest in gold, don't trust the State. The UK has sold off all their gold. Just printing paper, like the hyperinflation in Germany after WWI. You'd need a wheelbarrow load of Marks to buy a loaf of bread.
NEW STATESMAN 25 MAY 2023 - WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A COUNCIL DECLARES BANKRUPTCY?
Local governments across England are worried about their finances, and we should be too.
Last week, for the third time in two years, the Conservative-led Croydon council in south London declared bankruptcy. And this week another Conservative-led council, Thurrock in Essex, is in the news after admitting that ill-thought through investments have brought it to the brink of bankruptcy.
This is only the latest in a trend of councils buckling under the impact of spending cuts. Earlier this month, the Tory leaders of Kent and Hampshire county councils wrote to the government warning that they faced bankruptcy without more funding. Since 2010 councils have come under heavy financial pressure as money has been taken out of their budgets and they have had to make drastic cuts.
In 2018, Northamptonshire Council collapsed and has since been followed by Croydon, Slough and Northumberland, with dozens more on the brink. After surveying councils, the Local Government Association has warned that around 90 per cent of councils were using dwindling financial reserves to keep themselves running.
Local governments in the UK don’t “go bankrupt” in the way that a person or a company might (or their counterparts in the US, where municipal bankruptcies are common), however. What happens instead?
Councils get money from tax, from charging for services such as parking, and funding from central government. They use this to provide both legally mandated services such as social services, and “discretionary” services like sports and leisure centres. Since the 1980s councils in the UK have not been allowed run a deficit budget, so they have to balance their budget over the course of a year. If, during the year, the chief financial officer (CFO, known as the Section 151 officer) realises the council does not have the money to meet its spending commitments and that it cannot cut spending enough to balance the budget, they will issue a “Section 114 Notice”, which effectively freezes spending.
“Most CFOs do anything to avoid issuing one. It is generally regarded, with good evidence, as career-ending,” explained Mark McLaughlin, who was the CFO at Northamptonshire County Council. Soon after starting work at the council, he realised the situation was much worse than he had been told. Thirty days after starting the job, he issued a 114 notice.
The problem is that, in recent cases, councils that have issued a Section 114 have been spending their money on social care for adults or children’s services – neither of which are easy to cut back on without raising the risk of legal challenges from affected people, or a high-profile failure that could result in serious harm or death.
After the 114 notice has been issued, the council needs to respond with cuts. In extreme cases, some or all of a council can be taken over by government-appointed commissioners (often former local council chief executives), who can be in place for years.
In Northamptonshire, the government initially allowed the council to transfuse its capital reserves (normally ring-fenced for capital projects like building a new park or building) into its day-to-day services. However, even this was not enough and eventually the council was scrapped along with its seven district councils and replaced by two new unitary councils.
Politics, of course, plays a role. A central government governed by one party is usually less sympathetic to what they might consider profligate spending or financial mismanagement by a local government controlled by an opponent. Similarly, it would reflect poorly on the party of government if one of its flagship councils were to fail. In 2017, the Tory leader of Surrey County Council was outspoken about the financial challenges faced in an area in part represented in parliament by the then chancellor, Philip Hammond. This culminated in a plan, eventually aborted, to allow Surrey to raise council tax by 15 per cent, three times the limit set by central government. Under Tony Blair’s government, meanwhile, Labour-led Hackney Council was bailed out to the tune of £25m.
So where do councils without a powerful patron get the cash to plug their spending? “The way out of the financial mess is normally capitalisation: HM government allows the council to generate a capital receipt [ie to sell off something] and use the proceeds to support the revenue budget,” says McLaughlin. On top of this, services such as libraries are heavily cut back. Again though, the problem is that a one-off sale of a building or land won’t address the rising costs that caused the difficulty in the first place, so in time the council can get into financial trouble again.
Some councils have gone to enormous, and risky, lengths to try to build up their finances by investing in shopping centres, renewable energy and high street shops, using that one-off capital money to try to generate revenue for their budgets. It’s led to some colossal failures. Thurrock Council is currently dealing with the fallout from borrowing and investing £1bn in a solar company.
Jeremy Hunt’s extra money for social care will take the pressure slightly off councils this year, but the longer-term challenges remain. Broader reforms to social care would help, but the government keeps kicking that particular can down the road. Meanwhile councils are looking at a bleak period of austerity, which will likely mean more Section 114 notices.
Are Council Taxes Lawful?
It must be obvious to everyone, that failure is down to incompetent management. Over development, without a decent infrastructure costs more in repairs. Illustrated by the state of our potholed roads in towns and villages. The lack of affordable housing is making overseas investors rich, leaching our economy. Wealthy landlords in the UK frequently invest in foreign lands.
Councils were rampant with fraud, working with police in some cases to cover up misuse of authority, and procure land for residents who were (in effect) paying them for. They used their budgets to victimize people they thought were soft targets, and cover up lies, that they must have known was going to cost them dearly if they got found out. Below is one long-running dispute that is still not resolved.
TELLING THE TRUTH HURTS - BUT CAN BE CHEAPER IN THE LONG RUN
It is cheaper in the long term to admit mistakes. Wealden used to make a habit of it. One of the longest running cover ups, concerns the old Generating Station at Herstmonceux. Several council officials bandied together to defraud the then occupier of a grant he would have been entitled to. They shared information of the history to committees, as members might see if they look at the enforcement history, but then embarked on a campaign of denial. Basically, lying to the Secretary of State at appeals, the Magistrates Court and several High Court judges. From where there was no turning back. At this time seeking to appropriate the historic complex for Peter and June Townley, a matter of Article 14 discrimination illegality. As per the European Communities Act 1972, and of course the European Convention.
In 1997, a Petition saw evidence of such malfeasance in public office, referring the cases of 11 petitioners and one latecomer, to Sussex police. Though it appears the Sussex coppers were on the payroll. For they neglected to investigate, and then conspired to present a letter of exoneration to a full council meeting, read out by the Leader of the Council, as if the police had written the letter, when in fact it was drafted by officers, then printed on police headed paper - which the Old Bill supplied, as part of their Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice.
Each time these inconvenient facts were brought to the attention of your Chief Executive, the newby resigned. Then your council tried to resolve in 2003/04, with a Consent Order, where your council would apply for permission to regularize the permission, but instead sought to discredit the protestor in 2006, working with Sussex police to engineer a frame up, to as it were eliminate his assertions from the copy book.
We are talking about a valuable historic building here. One of a kind, the earliest and only surviving electricity generating station from C. 1900. With the potential for UNESCO listing as a World Heritage Site, because it used a battery store for load leveling. Over 120 years ahead of the systems now being used to load-level renewable, solar and wind energy.
This building is without a reasonable or beneficial use. Yet, Wealden District Council owes the Trust trying to restore and maintain the building, a duty of care in that regard. That duty to protect the historic built environment. Instead, Wealden's officers embarked on a war of attrition. Doing all they could to prevent any beneficial use. Why? Because the then occupier caught them red-handed with their hands in the cookie jar. In 1999-2000 London University carried out a Survey, proving he'd been right in 1986, when he argued at appeal that the building was an early generating station.
So who is going to pay for the repairs and maintenance. Where is that money going to come from. Will Wealden keep on denying their wrongdoing, or Pay the Piper?
MARCH 2020 - Where there is no effective remedy in the United Kingdom, the affected person has a right of audience with the King (or Queen), to air their grievances. Her Majesty declined the application to her in 2019, taking some six months to respond, as part of the fending off process. See the 1689 Bill or Rights. You may think it was unlawful for her to do so. Time will tell.
All efforts to starve the occupier into submission have backfired, now the subject of an application to the International Court of Justice. With King Charles III as the head of state responsible, along with his mother Queen Elizabeth II. Who, as you can see from the above letter, washed her hands of the matter (Pontius Pilate). As patron of the Masons, guidance from the CCRC, CPS, Attorney General, Justice Minister, or whatever influences, we do not yet know for sure why Her Majesty ignored the 1689 Bill of Rights, but this is bound to come out in the wash.
It's not a pretty picture. The Gestapo were friendlier and more honest than your council have been. When they murdered their victims, it was quick. Not like the slow mental torture, Wealden have inflicted (and continue to inflict) on the man who saved this building.
In Nazi Germany, Hienrich Himmler gave a speech to the National Socialist party elite, telling them that his agenda to exterminate deemed undesirables, would never be found out, because there was no written agenda. That was his "Final Solution," a never to be written page in our history: The Holocaust.
How wrong he was. Not only were the Gestapo and camp guards found-out, but many were legally executed (hanged) with others taking cyanide pills, rather than face the gallows.
A full council meeting in Wealdenland. The Members inspect their staff, to make sure they have the right kind of dress, to strike fear into any citizen foolhardy enough to question their ethics. To see this in action for real, why not visit the council's offices at Hailsham, Vicarage Lane.