Public Accounts Committee Press Release

David Walker in West Felton

David Walker, campaigner in Whittington Division, issued a Press Release ahead of the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into local councils buying commercial property that starts on Monday. The Shropshire Star has used some of it here: https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/business/2020/05/08/council-questioned-over-shopping-centres/

My Press Release: Public Accounts Committee inquiry into council commercial spending

07 May 2020

Embargo: none

Commenting on the news that The Public Accounts Committee will look at Shropshire Council’s £52m shopping centre purchase as part of their inquiry into local authority commercial investment, David Walker said: “The purchase of these shopping centres represents a huge risk to Shropshire Council’s finances. Senior administration members seem to have forgotten it isn’t monopoly money they are playing with. Or indeed their own money. They are risking public money!”

The inquiry will be looking to see if the Government Department has effective oversight of the risks to the financial sustainability of local authorities investing in commercial property. The Public Accounts Committee will look at these purchases on the 11th of May.

David Walker is a Civil Engineering Surveyor who has worked in the property and construction industry for over 30 years…

Read more here: https://cllrdavidwalker.org/52m-shopping-centre-purchase-inquiry/

£52m shopping centre purchase inquiry

David Walker in West Felton

It is welcome news that a parliamentary watchdog is to examine Shropshire Council’s £52m shopping centre purchase. This is part of a wider look at local council involvement in purchasing commercial property. The Public Accounts Committee will look at these purchases in May.

The purchase of these shopping centres represents a huge risk to Shropshire Council’s finances. Senior administration members seem to have forgotten it isn’t monopoly money they are playing with. Or indeed their own money. They are risking public money! The risks in the investment clearly outweighed the potential gain. More so when you consider the perilous state of their finances. More so given that more prudent investment strategies would give a better return.

Read more: https://cllrdavidwalker.org/52m-shopping-centre-purchase-inquiry/

Shropshire in the Broadband slow lane

David Walker in West Felton

15 years ago I was campaigning to get Broadband into Bridgnorth. I was concerned then about slow speeds were putting us at an economic disadvantage compared to other areas locally and globally. Fast forward 15 years and we still find Shropshire in the Broadband slow lane! This is despite all of the bluster from Shropshire Council about increasing investment. With the Coronavirus lockdown, more people than ever need good access and fast reliable speeds.

People at home using the internet for work, entertainment or to stay in touch with friends and family is increasing demand on the internet. YouTube, Microsoft, NetFlix and a pile of online content providers throttled their services to help lighten the load. Coronavirus is going to bring about a huge shift in people’s habits. Many of which will become permanent in quite a big paradigm shift. After this is done many people will still want to work at home and enjoy their newfound work/life balance. Many more people will be ordering online. Will they all revert to shopping in town centres? Many more people are downloading films. Will they all revert to going to the cinema? Some will but many won’t. Many businesses were already shifting to online service provision and delivery. They are hardly likely to shift back to a more expensive and less effective model of service delivery. All of these shifts are bad news for the digital divide and those with poor or now access.

Until Shropshire Council pull their finger out, invest our money wisely and apply real pressure on providers and BT then Shropshire is destined to fall further behind the rest of the UK….

Read more: https://cllrdavidwalker.org/shropshire-in-the-broadband-slow-lane/