FEEDBACK, Gazette – 28 January 2016
Cllr Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton Council
I just can’t let Dave Roberts’ inaccurate and irresponsible claims pass without correction. To be very clear, there has been no “discovery of a £73m Black hole in the finances of Stockton Council.”
The figure he misquotes is actually the cut in government funds to this borough between 2009/10 and 2019/20.
No-one has just discovered this. Quite the opposite, we’ve been handling year-on-year cuts for six years, and I’d refer Dave to the recently published praiseworthy external audit report on our finances despite the government’s brutal cuts.
I’m also suspicious of the claims of a man who only last year stood and failed as candidate for Mayor of Middlesbrough suddenly suggesting Tees-wide solutions – now he is proposing to stand as mayor for the Tees Valley.
There already exists huge shared services, collaboration, joints posts and procurement across all five authorities.
And for years now we’ve all achieved economies of scale by buying products and services through the North East Purchasing Organisation (NEPO) which negotiates on behalf of 12 North-east authorities. We work well together already.
Let’s not lose sight of the real problem here – that’s the massive cuts in government funding to the area.