The local government funding crisis has become so dire that our council – Folkestone & Hythe District Council has been forced to sell public spaces and public buildings, to pay redundancies and to stay afloat.
Our Council has been forced to take ever more desperate measures to stay in the black as their funding from central government has been cut by about 60% since 2010.
Between 2016 and 2018 Folkestone & Hythe District Council have sold 48 parcels of land/property and raised £1,588,985. Some of the money raised was used to pay the former Chief Exec’s redundancy package to the tune of £180,000.
The Chief Executive was “dismissed on the grounds of redundancy on 31 March 2018.(Saturday)”. The money for his redundancy was broken down so: – Annex-1 (para 188.8.131.52 and 3.8)
The Redundancy compensation and the pension strain costs of release of pension – £179,195.86 – was paid to Mr Stewart via the sale of assets, Folkestone & Hythe District Council assets to fund his golden goodbye.
This is a double blow to our communities, as they are using the money raised from selling off buildings and land to pay for redundancies and vital frontline services.
During the last three years Folkestone & Hythe District Council has made extensive use of the new freedoms around sell-offs, spending £1.6 million raised from the selling of assets on:
Furniture/Equipment – £17,789
Cost of Early Retirement – £109,900
Cost of Redundancy – £69,296
Computer Equipment – £22,200
Computer Software – £706,000
Website/Intranet – £4,200
Professional Advice & Fees – £696,752
Licences – £5,730
The Professional Advice & Fees would be advice from people like Cornerstone Chambers, Savills, Bettridge & Milsom, for example.
While our council is publishing the transparency reports required under government guidelines, these reports do not include details of which assets were sold.
None of the union representatives at Folkestone & Hythe District Council we spoke to knew the council had funded Mr Stewart’s redundancy by selling public buildings and spaces.
The financial flexibility of the use of capital receipts currently means our Council have a very limited range of levers at their disposal.
We are now in danger – more so than ever before – that our Council – Folkestone & Hythe District Council will need to sell off more of the family silver to stay afloat. This is an absolutely ridiculous way to do business, but then we are led by a four time failed double glazing salesman which might explain things.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the people NOT the powerful