Pulse Politics can exclusively reveal huge amounts of financial mismanagement at Preston City Council.
Using Freedom of Information Act requests, Pulse Politics has exclusively found out that over £3.1 million has been either spent frivolously, or uncollected, across the City. This includes almost £175K on refreshments, and over £3m in unclaimed business rates.
Speaking on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, Councillor Neil Darby (LD – Ingol Ward) said:
“It’s simply not good enough. Labour claim to be the true champions of working people – how can you champion society’s most vulnerable when you’re making ‘efficiency savings’ without telling people their services are save? These are services are our most prized treasure, and they’re mishandling them with gay abandon.”
Pulse Politics contacted the Conservatives for comment, who declined to respond.
£3M IN UNCLAIMED BUSINESS RATES
3,831%: The increase in unclaimed business rates under the Labour administration
220,661: The number of hours at minimum wage the unclaimed rates could fund
69: The number of full-time nurses that the unclaimed rates could pay for
Just as people residing within a Council’s limits pay Council tax, business headquartered within them must pay ‘business rates’. Rates are calculated per metre squared of property, and can range from a few hundred pounds for a very small premises, to millions for a huge office block. Since the start of the Labour administration after the 2011 Local Elections, the level of business rates unclaimed has risen by 3831% – from £40,413.59 whilst under the Conservative minority administration, which was propped up by the Liberal Democrat group, to £1,588,762.15 in the 2015/16 financial year under the Labour majority administration.
8.3M BISCUITS FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE
314,605: The number of second class stamps the catering budget could pay for
157,323: The number of litres of petrol the catering budget could pay for
10: Years of the average Preston salary would make up the catering budget
In a similar trend, Pulse Politics can reveal that almost £175K has been spent on catering and refreshments in City Hall since 2010. This includes an eye-watering £98K in the financial year 2012-13 alone. This could pay for over 8.3 million Smartprice Cookies from an Asda store. This would mean every councillor would have to consume 145,618 cookies to get through them each year. Or in other terms, 19 and a half packets per day.