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Letter: Tory ‘Facts’ That Are Far From the Truth

Published on: 25 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 26 Apr, 2021

From: George Potter

In response to: County Hall Failures? Now Just Read the Facts

Ms Iles complains about “false claims” and “mistruths” which is ironic, given that her letter is littered with them. Readers will note she doesn’t actually disprove the factually correct claim that the four key county services have been rated as inadequate, failing or unsafe.

Indeed, if she actually believes criticism of the appalling Conservative record is factually wrong, why is her party boycotting all election hustings in Guildford?

But to take just one example of a mistruth in her letter, the £256,000 county council report on unitaries, which did not, in fact, examine the pros and cons of one, two or three unitaries.

Instead, it was blatantly mounted in an attempt to compile evidence that would support a pre-determined conclusion, recommending a monster-council for Conservative political advantage, a power-grab.

The proof emerged from the districts and borough report (produced only to prevent the single unitary proposal being rammed through without opposition), which comprehensively dissected and debunked all the Conservative claims about a single unitary.

As for SCC’s finances, I fail to see how they can possibly be described as “strong”, given that the Tories have sunk almost £450 million of borrowed money into risky retail property investments which had already lost 10% of their value before the pandemic hammered the high streets.

Many of us remember, only a few years ago, the county council had a £100 million black hole in its budget due to fiscal incompetence and mismanagement.

And Ms Iles demonstrates her usual ignorance of GBC matters where finances are under pressure due to the government refusal to properly reimburse councils for the costs of Covid, but where significant efficiency savings have been delivered while protecting frontline public services.

Compare and contrast with the county council, which closed 38 children’s centres only two years ago to get money needed to help plug some of the holes in the council’s finances.

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test One Response to Letter: Tory ‘Facts’ That Are Far From the Truth

  1. Julie Iles Reply

    April 26, 2021 at 10:41 am

    The Lib Dems and R4GV both make the same outdated claims but then they would because the Lib Dem group leader at SCC has also published these.

    I wonder which party is responsible for such poor and outdated research? Things move on in three years and residents should expect current comment rather than historic. As to factual accuracy, Cllr Potter does not have enough knowledge of SEND services to be aware that they cannot be judged inadequate in the existing framework and nor were they failing or unsafe. Still lump everything together sling some mud and see what sticks eh?

    As to unitary authorities, no work has been done on that since October of last year. It simply is not on the agenda for the foreseeable future as regards government legislation. It is not happening so why continue to bang on about it as one of your election issues?

    Cllr Potter fails to mention the £30,000 which each district committed to commission their report (£330,000 in total) – I think we’ve asked to see it and I don’t believe it’s been made available. Leads me to think it can’t have been that compelling.

    Over the last couple of years, under a new leader at SCC, we have addressed the finances and, as my letter says, we have a balanced budget without the use of reserves. We are also in a position to invest in future programmes. Again things have moved on.

    Meanwhile, Cllr Potter blames someone else (in this case government) for the financial pressures at GBC. I’m sure that when GBC are next up for election Lib Dems will blame R4GV and vice versa for any failures under their shared leadership.

    Finally, the re-structure of family support had nothing to do with closing children’s centres to save money. It was all about outreach programmes reaching into our most vulnerable families – those who are hidden in our communities and do not walk through the door of a centre to ask for help.

    To conflate this with finances is ignorant and it’s dismissive and disrespectful of the work of the late, great and sadly departed Dave Hill CBE our previous executive director for Children’s Services.

    Julie Iles is the Conservative candidate for The Horsleys in the forthcoming SCC election

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