Opinion: ‘Tories have all but bankrupted Peterborough’

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

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 27th March 2022, 4:30 pm
Potholes on Sturrock Way in Peterborough.
Potholes on Sturrock Way in Peterborough.

I must confess that I did chuckle when I first heard a resident describe Peterborough MP Paul Bristow as “Pop Up Paul”. He is a child of the modern age, appearing on social media for the proverbial opening of an envelope. I smile as I recall pictures of him standing looking serious (or trying) over fly-tipping whilst dressed more appropriately for the golf club.

His latest campaign is potholes. Yes, potholes. Once again, he can be found looking gravely at a pothole asking residents to get in touch if they find one.

Our MP, who has voted for a pay rise on his current £81,932 salary is, rather than representing our city in the House of Commons on matters of state and as Nadine Dorries’ bag carrier, standing over potholes! Is it election time, Mr Bristow? Are you so desperate to hang on to power you start to highlight the shortcomings of your own administration locally (22 years of Conservative control in the city and counting) by fixing the holes this administration is failing to fix? Or are you covering up the fact that your paymasters have slashed funding to hard-pressed, hard-working councils up and down the country by, in Peterborough’s case, around £45m. Yes, you read that number correctly. The ruling

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Conservative administration has admitted it has made mistakes and we are, effectively, paying for the ‘sins of others’.

So, how does Mr Bristow respond? By standing surrounded by five candidates tasked with keeping him and his party in power so they can increase the number of food banks in the city, the potholes in our roads and watch as more and more of us, ordinary council and income tax-paying people fall even more deeply into fuel poverty. At least they will provide more photo opportunities for him and his candidates to look gravely at.

What is the solution, Mr Bristow? Why did we elect you to represent us in Parliament to get the best for our city? You surely have the ear of ministers now you are a Parliamentary Private Secretary? Anything positive by any chance? Nope. Just a tired old line of stopping the ‘coalition of chaos’ led by an extreme left-wing Labour.

Let me finish by pointing out a couple of facts: Labour in Peterborough has never been ‘extreme left wing’. That is a figment of your scaremongering. We are working with the Greens, the Liberal Democrats, members of Werrington First and, wait for this, a former Conservative councillor who has had the courage of his convictions to see through the scaremongering and propaganda.

They say that every picture tells a story.

These pictures tell the story of a party that has all but bankrupted our city, allowed a Conservative government to starve us of funds, failed to raise the maximum amount of council tax (for political reasons it now openly regrets) and came close to resigning if they had lost the budget vote.

But don’t worry Paul, there will be plenty more broken roads, broken lives and food banks for you to have your picture taken with and at, whilst you peddle the same old tired lies to keep you and your friends in power – at our considerable expense.

What’s worse is that Paul wants to rip the heart out of Peterborough by moving Central ward to North West Cambridgeshire, not for the benefit of residents, but for his own personal and political benefit.

This tells you all you need to know.