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Letter: 20% of Council Tax spent on Council debt repayments

Date published: 26 September 2017


Dear Editor,

At the time the loans were entered into they were cheaper than equivalent loans available to the Council.

Our external auditors have signed off our accounts each year up to the 2015/16 accounts (we are awaiting the certificate on the 2016/17 accounts) as they were satisfied that our LOBO loan decision was taken in line with all relevant strategies, policies and codes of practice. At the time, they were seen as value for money compared to other borrowing options', the Rochdale Council spokesperson informs us in 'Council paying 'extortionate interest' on 'expensive risky loans', Rochdale Online (23 August 2017).

http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/112023/council-paying-extortionate-interest-on-expensive-risky-loans

This weekend UK Debt Resistance reveal that Rochdale Council has LOBO loan debts of £210.14m amounting to £993 of debt per person in our borough. This means one fifth or 20% of local tax payers council tax is spent on debt repayments at the same time as essential public services are being stripped to the very marrow.

We rightly hear of how the Westminster government austerity have impacted on budgets local but responsibility for this financial own goal clearly lies closer to home with our local decision makers.

Will those decision makers responsible be independently investigated and held to public account or is this yet another example of the quaint Rochdale tradition of sweeping inconvenient facts under the carpet, cover up, and deliberate obfuscation by the 'usual suspects' whilst arrogantly ignoring the consequences of their incompetence?

Secure in the knowledge that where the 'mafia of the mediocre is king' very, very few people are ever truly held to account since to remove one branch of dead wood hanging on simply for their lucrative retirement packages would risk the whole rotten edifice with a moribund grip on our town being exposed as equally inadequate and inept.

Yours,

Andrew Wastling

The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.


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