Opinion: ‘This Conservative Peterborough administration is far past its sell-by date’

Councillor Shaz Nawaz, Labour Group leader on Peterborough City Council, writes...

Labour leader Cllr Shaz Nawaz.
Labour leader Cllr Shaz Nawaz.

If the Conservatives who run Peterborough were the directors of a firm, there would have been a shareholder revolt by now.

Look at the facts: we have a £27 million budget gap for 2022/23; Council Tax bills will rise by 3 per cent at a time when most can ill-afford it.

The Minister for Equalities and Levelling Up Communities, Kemi Badenoch MP, has had to step in and tell the present administration to get serious about solving Peterborough’s financial problems.

This intervention by a Conservative minister in the running of a Conservative-dominated council, is extraordinary. They rarely eat their own like this, but in this case, it’s justified.

How did we get to this point? Why have things become so dire?

I believe the Conservatives have been basing their decisions on what will secure their best interests politically. They have sought cheap and easy headlines with “eye catching initiatives”.

Time and again, whether it was Fletton Quays, or the solar panel schemes, any gains have proven illusory.

They did not prepare for the future; they did not adequately provide for the inevitable shocks and crises that come. They failed to make the important and necessary decisions in a timely manner.

Furthermore, I believe this administration is far past its sell-by date.

The Conservatives have run this council for over 20 years. They are out of imagination and ideas; they continue for one reason alone, perpetuating their own power.

There is no great agenda for our city. No plan for real civic improvements. No plan for progress.

Instead, we are facing massive cuts which will hit public services.

For example, I believe the £3 million cut to Adult Social Care and Children’s Services is making the wrong people pay for the present administration’s blatant incompetence.

The dither and delay in sorting out the finances means the situation is worse than it had to be. This means more residents will be made to suffer through budget cuts. This is neither fair, nor right.

This should never be repeated because residents should not pay the penalty for the mistakes of the local Conservative group.

As for the Conservative administration, what possibly can they say to make up for this debacle? What possibly could be their rationale for carrying on?

They have been there so long, their only tactic will be to try to stoke up apathy or fear. Apathy will be centred around the idea that things cannot be better than this.

Fear will be utilised to suggest things could be worse. Either way, they hope to limp onwards, zombie-like, towards a destination about which they know nothing.

This council does have a board of directors... the people of Peterborough have the power, via the ballot box, to put an end to this nonsense.

There is no point in rewarding Councillor Fitzgerald and his colleagues with more time in power, particularly now that even their Westminster colleagues have spotted their incompetence, their multitude of failings, and demanded better.

It is past time to embrace change, particularly now it’s clear that things cannot go on as they are.

It’s time for Councillor Fitzgerald and his cabinet to go.