Opinion: The fundamentals - recognition and reward

​As the Conservative government has a very much ‘end of days’ feel to it, Rishi electing not to go to the country and is likely to feel the pain in May as a result, so local councils start to prepare for the May elections.
Labour Group leader Dennis Jones (Dogsthorpe)Labour Group leader Dennis Jones (Dogsthorpe)
Labour Group leader Dennis Jones (Dogsthorpe)

Scrutiny and regulatory committees conclude their business six weeks before elections where the government, local and national, must not show any political bias towards any one party.

At Full council this week, the last before the election, the Improvement Panel, brought in two years ago to sort out our parlous finances, brought about by a series of bad financial decisions by people who are no longer around, blunders (Brexit) and, being kind, unforeseen circumstances (Covid, but we will come back to that another time) presented their latest report.

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I think it is honest and a fair reflection of distance travelled compared to where we were, despite the best efforts of the current MP to suggest every ill and woe that has befallen the city has occurred since the current administration took control in November.

If we stop and think about what matters, it can usually be pared back to two fundamentals that are important to all of us: ‘recognition’ and ‘reward’.

Reward perhaps speaks for itself.

Rarely can any of us do everything for nothing. Reward is our wage or allowance that allows us to function in the modern world. How much reward we receive and how we manage it is a matter for debate. As politicians of different political persuasions, we have our own views on how that reward is given, how it is allocated, including the amount that we each receive.

Recognition is different.

Volunteers, for instance, give of their time, sometimes dipping into their own financial resources to give or to support others without any expectation or need for reward.

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This report isn’t about reward. What we see here is the recognition that, individually and collectively, we have pulled together and worked together and, all together, voted unanimously for a balanced budget.

The recognition for me and my group is for the Improvement Panel to put into writing how well we have done – so far. And, in doing so, recognising there is still a challenging game to be won to keep the people of Peterborough, whom we were all elected to represent, and our city, solvent safe and masters of our own destiny.

The report is therefore welcomed for those two reasons. Recognition of the distance we have travelled since 2021 and recognising that the road ahead is a bit like many across the city and, indeed, the country, potholed with care needed to navigate it.

I am pleased to receive such recognition. It is my profound wish that, in these challenging times, we continue to rise above the worst excesses of party politics for the betterment of our city we all call home, no matter where we started our respective journeys to get here.

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I also hope that the electorate will bear this in mind at the forthcoming local and national elections by asking challenging questions of all of us about what, and who, got us into that bad place, where we are now and, importantly, where we are going.

To this end, single issue politicians with no history of supporting the administration to achieve a balanced budget, other than voting for it, if any were present in the chamber when the vote was taken, must play no part in deciding our future when so much remains at stake.

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