What a waste!
In the last two years there have not been many opportunities for opposition members to land any significant blows on the Tory led coalition at Folkestone & Hythe District Council. When one arrived yesterday evening at the Audit & Governance Committee (A&GC) both the Labour Cllr – Laura Davison and the Green Cllr – Rebecca Shoob both went missing in action.
Agenda Item 4 at last night’s A&GC was the the letter sent by the Auditor – Grant Thornton and the Council’s responses to those questions regarding fraud and law and regulations.
We know that the Auditor asked the following question:
Auditor – Have there been any instances of noncompliance or suspected non-compliance with law and regulation since 1 April 2020?
Council’s response – No.
Now we know this response is not true, as the Council have not collected any money for the Environmental Permits for the last four years, nor have they had a public register and complied with the legislation and the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016. We made this very clear on Monday and also in mid March pointing out the Council were breaking environmental law.
We know members of the public have contacted both Cllrs about this issue. However, it would appear their protestations have fallen upon deaf ears.
The alleged opposition Cllrs did not bother to raise the fact the that the Tories have allowed tens of thousands of pounds to be lost. Nor did they dare question the s151 officer – Charlotte Spendley, or the Auditor how this has occured over such a long period of time. Nor die eaither of them ask how the council are going to remedy the matter.
Losing tens of thousands of pounds, for the public purse might partly explain why reidents of the district have the highest council tax in Kent.
So are there any plausible reasons why these cllrs went missing in action?
Regarding Cllr Shoob, there is a plausible reason why perhaps she did not raise the issue. Her leader Cllr Lesley Whybrow (pictured) is Cabinet Member for the Environment and responsible for air pollution, which are the whole purpose of environment permits, as they are about companies who emit emissions into the environment (See example of Thurrock Council for Petrol Stations). Raising the issue would no doubt have embarrassed her leader who receives approx £16,000 for her seat on the Monk’s Cabinet.