Tories not up to running a bank

In this age of financial uncertainty, when even the banks can’t run banks properly, our County Councillors are setting up a new bank themselves … is this what you pay your Council Tax for?

The Conservative administration at Essex County Council is not competent enough to run a bank and should stick to doing what Essex taxpayers expect it to do – provide better  quality services than it does at present, according to the Liberal Democrat group at the council.

Speaking about the proposal, Lib Dem group leader Cllr Tom Smith-Hughes, said: “The Conservative administration is currently having to put right its service to protect vulnerable children, which has been assessed as being one of the worst in the country.  As a consequence, it is difficult to have confidence in this administration’s ability to run its own core business, so the idea of it getting involved with running a business in which it has no experience or knowledge, is a delusion of grandeur which is hard to swallow.

“For £50m of taxpayers money, plus operation costs of a minimum of £250,000, to be put at risk and especially in this time of financial turbulence, requires the strictest of guarantees that the money will be protected.  As far as we can make out, the proposal on the table does not give these guarantees and it is unclear how and when the taxpayer will get this money back.  My group has already recommended that any excess funds should be distributed back to taxpayers in Essex, to help them through these difficult financial times.

“There is a serious question of whether an administration that is badly failing to run some of its own services to acceptable standards, can be trusted with taxpayers money in a business it knows nothing about.  If Essex was a top performing council there may be a better case for it getting involved with other ventures, but at this point, the Conservatives should focus more on providing basic services that the taxpayers’ pay for, to a standard that is expected by all the residents of Essex.”