Tuesday, 23 July 2013

We need an investigation into Community Fund decision

This week I have called for an urgent investigation into the way a community fund in Tynedale was suspended. I am hopeful the fund will now be reinstated and that Tynedale's funding will be preserved after our campaign, but clearly the Council has questions to answer.

The decision was seemingly taken by a lone Councillor with no meeting of the Council Committee which administers the fund. Last week the Council issued a last minute suspension of the fund which sees over £100,000 granted to community groups across Northumberland each year. The background is this: the Community Chest is divided into three equal parts, one for the North of the County, one for the West and one for the South East. The County Council indicated it would not be seeking to reduce the overall monies in the Fund but instead cut the West's allocation in favour of the South East.

What has gone on here is beyond extraordinary. Seemingly, one Labour Councillor from the South East has decided, with no due process or consultation, to suspend the fund in order to hand more cash to the South East. That kind of decision making process has no place in a modern council. We need a full investigation to find out who was taking the decision,why they took them, and why they were allowed too.

What matters now is getting to the bottom of how this decision could be taken in such a shoddy way so that our area doesn't suffer again. We need answers and we need them now.