Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Boston buys its
ticket to Dignitas

As you might expect, Boston Borough Council was the last to sign up to proposals for a devolved Greater Lincolnshire, comprising ten district councils and the Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership
As always, this jam tomorrow decision fired the starting gun for squeals of glee about how much money this will bring to the area, boosting the economy by £8 billion, creating 29,000 jobs and providing 100,000 new homes.
In a nutshell, Greater Lincolnshire will get £450 million over 30 years to boost economic growth transport, planning and skills.
Be still our beating heart.
It would have been nice if councillors had been more enthusiastic about this crucial “extraordinary” meeting.
Of the 30 elected members, only 18 turned up – and one of them voted against.
So it was left to the usual suspects to persuade us of the amazing deal we were getting.
Leader ‘Nipper’ Bedford said Boston would have its “equal share” and was “the only way we can take Boston forward as part of the combined authority.”
He said the elected mayor would only have tax raising powers for his own office and any salary should not be any more than the highest-paid council leader in Lincolnshire – which is about £35,000.
Independent Conservative Alison Austin was equally gung-ho – but then she always is, unless it means better supermarkets for the town.
“We just cannot lose out on this. We will be the smallest of the ten authorities but the vote of our leader will be equal to the vote of any of those other members representing authorities.”
Can we believe this?
The deal means that SuperLincs will be awarded £15 million a year for 30 years.
An “equal share” of this would be £1.5 million a year – but with three county councils among those trying to grab a slice of the cake, we suspect that the smallest district authority will be a minnow battling it out with sharks.
What is known is that Boston will pay an equal share of the costs of setting up this extra tier of local government – which we understand includes the cost of a referendum … thought to be at least £100,000.
The mayor may well “only” have tax raising powers for his own office, but it represents up to a 2% charge on businesses – many of which are already struggling to keep their heads above water.
And do we really think that the post holder will settle for a puny £35k when colleagues elected in smaller areas are getting twice as much … and more?
Worst Street has been on its death bed for years but simply doesn’t seem able to read the writing on the chart hanging from its foot.
We have an inadequate, low-quality, supine leadership that will guarantee that we will be walked over by our fellow members of this pointless partnership.
For years, Worst Street has been digging its own grave – and has now voted for a JCB to move things along faster.
Full details of the proposals can be found by clicking here if you don’t want the sanitised Worst Street version.

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