Oldham Council have removed the “cost centre” column from their monthly spending publications which they are not obliged to provide under central government regulations. This column has one simple purpose which is just to identify which scheme or area money is being spent on for example it would state Old Town Hall, street cleaning, fleet management, link centre or teachers long-term sickness. The Council have now removed this column because they say it leaves them open to potential future fraud and exploitation which makes absolutely no sense when the column which lists the companies receiving payments is still included. This is an attack on democracy and accountability from a political elite who want their voters to put an X in the box and leave everything else to them. Here is the ludicrous statement from the Council’s spending records page “The continued compliance with the National Transparency Agenda has increased the risk of the Council to a future fraud, as information included in the public domain and obtained from Freedom of Information Requests is used to exploit the Council.
In accordance with the Council’s Counter Fraud, Anti-Bribery Strategy and Counter Fraud Response Plan, and the requirement to comply with the Local Government Transparency Code (2015), from April 2018 a revision has been made to the information disclosed as part of the Over £500 Council spend records.”
Chronic-Oldham is quite aware that Oldham Labour Council hate the fact that we regularly publish their spending records to highlight their less than frugal spending priorities while they simultaneously complain about austerity and Council budget cutbacks. We have used the Council’s spending records to show they spent over £40 million on the Town Hall Cinema, a development originally supposed to cost £10 million which cost the Oldham public some £10 million plus interest more than the £26 million both Jean Stretton and Jim McMahon stated as the cost to Oldham. We used the records to show that the Council spent £1.2 million on the Hack Oldham/Wayra building when they had said it would cost £200,000 they also plan on spending another quarter of a million. We used the records to show they spend £70,000 a year with a Devon based brand marketer to sell their co-op agenda while our streets are full of dog mess and litter. We used the records to show they spent £33,000 on fireworks for bonfire night and £10,000 projecting images onto the Old Town Hall for one single evening. What happened to Labour Oldham’s claims of transparent democracy? So this an enlightened 21st century Labour party who actively seek to keep the so-called working classes in the dark fed on a diet of bullshit and propaganda.