‘It’s time for change in Peterborough’

Exterior of Peterborough Town Hall EMN-141126-162521009
Exterior of Peterborough Town Hall EMN-141126-162521009
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The recent vote relating to the city council’s budget was another symptom of this administration’s decline: it passed by only two votes, writes leader of the council’s Labour group Cllr Shaz Nawaz.

Their excuses for poor decision making have changed from blaming previous administrations, which was preposterous, since they’ve been in control for nearly 20 years, to saying that bad decisions were the right decisions at the time. Oh really? Was it that difficult to see the benefits and disadvantages of Google versus Microsoft technologies?

Let’s be frank, no administration should be in power for too long. It leads to the issues that we see in this instance: a lack of ideas, a listlessness, a meandering through time, which means that our city cannot move forward. They try the same tired, old policies: they sometimes pay the Labour Group a compliment by stealing our ideas. However, this speaks of the intellectual poverty of the Conservatives: having trusted the market, it has failed to deliver the homes we need.

Having supported austerity, it has neither made our streets safer, nor made our children better educated.

Beyond this, they are left with echoing national themes about “getting Brexit done”, although if they were truthful with themselves and the electorate, they would state clearly that leaving the European Union is one thing, negotiating a new trading relationship with the world is quite another. No matter what, Brexit is not going to go away anytime soon, nor does one’s affiliation to the cause of Leave or Remain help our city progress.

The Labour Group can see the enormous potential of our city; we have great businesses here, leading entrepreneurs, a strong community spirit. However, these are held back by a lack of the basics.

We need better transport, better infrastructure, better housing, better schools. We also need better planning: when projects like the Rhubarb Bridge reconstruction take place, they shouldn’t snarl up traffic in the way that they have done. When fibre optic cable rolls out, it should include the most far flung parts of our city, not be subject to a postcode lottery.

When a business like Thomas Cook goes bust, the city should join in with the efforts of local firms like Progressive Property to help employees find new roles and with help towards re-training.

None of the problems that we face will be solved overnight; however, the current administration has had nearly two decades to solve them. In many ways, we are going backward; as they run out of ideas, they tend to latch onto big projects like Fletton Quays whose benefit is questionable.

They are still in office, but are they still in power? Do they still have the will to do anything except sit in power? I doubt it. Change is coming; its harbingers are the frustrations that I hear about on the doorstep. It can be seen in this newspaper’s crime reports and the price of housing.

It’s time to move on.