Friday, 25 January 2013

Official: Fiona Ferguson costs Cornwall Council £300,000

Cornwall Council officers have confirmed that a decision by Tory group leader Fiona Ferguson when she was a cabinet member will cost the authority £300,000 next year.

Cornwall Council inherited a real mess of six different policies regarding discretionary rate relief. This is the discount that the council can give to voluntary and community organisations on the business rates that they pay.

For fourteen months, a group of councillors and officers worked to put together a new, uniform policy that would apply across Cornwall. This new policy would iron out some of the anomalies and get rid of a few of the sweetheart deals that were given to organisations that should not be getting such a handout at a time when the authority is having to save every penny it can.

This new policy was due to go to the cabinet for agreement in time to allow the new policy to be implemented at the start of the new financial year in April. All organisations likely to be affected had been written to warning them of the new policy and officers were planning on the additional £300k of income it would generate.

Except that Cllr Ferguson pulled the item from the cabinet agenda when she still held her post.

So it is now too late to implement for the coming year and Cornwall Council will be £300,000 out of pocket as a result.

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