Peterborough councillors fail to spend funding for their communities

Less than 40 per cent of funding for ward councillors to spend in their communities has been spent - with the deadline for allocations expiring in less than two weeks.

Sunday, 9th February 2020, 5:01 am

Every year, each Peterborough city councillor receives a Community Leadership Fund (CLF) of £1,000 to spend on parks, community projects or other schemes.

The deadline for spending the cash is February 14 - and figures released by Peterborough City Council at the PT’s request show that just 38 per cent of the cash has been allocated. The figures show that 28 out of 60 councillors had not spent any of the money - although when contacted by the Peterborough Telegraph about their plans, some said they were waiting for sign off on their applications.

Last year, nearly 20 per cent of the money was unspent, with seven councillors not taking advantage of any money, and 11 not using the full amount.

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Community funding has been spent on dog bins

Werrington councillor John Fox has already spent the entire £1,000 in his budget, and he said the money was vital for his ward.

He said: “In the past we have spent CLF on dropped kerbs, as well as making sure we have adequate dog bins, waste bins and small items of play equipment.

“We could easily spend a lot more CLF money if we were allowed to spend the CLF that has not been spent each year in other wards. I am not sure why certain councillors do not spend any of their CLF in their wards, which amazes me as we could spend it 10 times over.”

Ravensthorpe councillor Ed Murphy has also seen all his CLF money allocated. He said any money not spent as part of the scheme should be put towards a charity, naming the Garden House Project which supports homeless residents in Peterborough as a cause he would like to see benefit.

Walton councillor Nick Sandford has also spent all his CLF money, but he called for a change in the way it is spent.

He said: “I think the idea of councillors having a say on how money is spent in their area is a good one, but I would prefer to see it done through area committees with significant budgets and an ability to plan spending strategically over several council wards.”

Last year, Cllr Diane Lamb (Con), Cllr James Lillis (Lib Dem) and Cllr Mohammed Nadeem (Con) did not spend any CLF money. They have also not spent any CLF money so far this year.

None of the three councillors had responded to questions from the PT at the time of going to press about why they had not spent the money, or if they had plans for it.