Bexley Council gain £9 million government bailout after financial mess

Bexley Council gain £9 million government bailout after financial mess

Bexley Council has secured a £9 million bailout after financial problems hitting the authority. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government agreed to the council request after they hit trouble.

The authority was one of four that received bailout support this week – and the only one in London. Despite this it claimed “we’ve just got on with the job of delivering value for money and running an efficient and effective Council”. It’s somewhat embarrassing for the council given they have previously mocked other council’s that needed similar help.

Tweet as bailout announced which claimed problems “made up”

Croydon council have previously required a bailout. The ruling Bexley Conservative’s Twitter account retweeted: “Those responsible for  Croydon’s bankruptcy should be held accountable for those actions. This cannot be a whitewash.”

Housing

Both Croydon and Bexley’s problems are in part due to housing. In Bexley the council have overseen the building of very few social homes, with the resulting issue of needing to house homeless households in expensive emergency accommodation.

Bexley affordable housing total in recent years leading to todays issues

Their BexleyCo developer has lost money and barely built a home – while seeing extremely poor proposals of which many were rejected. In fact, one of the very worst developments out of hundreds – if not thousands – covered on this site over the past decade was a BexleyCo plan to build on a park in Erith. It includes zero affordable homes – despite the ever rising cost to local taxypayers through emergency housing costs.

Bexley have blamed COVID though all authorities have suffered from the impact of the pandemic – and as Bexley is Bonkers has reported two out of four gaining bailout funds this past week arguably have more legitimate claims. One is seaside resort Eastbourne which has seen the tourist trade heavily hit and the other is Luton with its airport. The vast majority have not taken the route Bexley have and failed to balance a budget.

Announcing the bailout support, MP Robert Jenrick (he of dodgy deals on the Isle of Dogs later ruled unlawful) stated:

“We know that a handful of councils face serious financial challenges. Some, it has to be said, due to very poor management but others due to the exceptional events of the past year. Taxpayer support of this kind is never provided lightly and in return for the increased flexibility afforded to councils, we expect sound financial management with residents shielded from unaffordable increases.”

That didn’t appear on the Twitter feed for some reason.

Other curious claims

Bexley Conservatives this week also attempted to claim this site had made up a statement that six libraries were at risk of closure last November – despite their own council’s report clearly stating the proposal to withdraw funding (see the last sentence):

From November 2020 report

Eventually the council reduced the level of cuts and attempted to portray it as a victory.

Upon pointing out their own November 2020 report they went silent. They also have a curious stance that anyone who highlights these issues simply must be a Labour supporter – which seems to miss this site has long highlighted flaws at neighbouring Labour Greenwich Council. It’s all very primary school level of debate. You either swallow all they say or are on the other team.

In fact the “Bexley New – Bexley Conservative”  social media account is tirade of tiresome party political nonsense not dealing much in the way of facts. Easier to point fingers than look at internal failures requiring external support I suppose.

Many of the underlying issues with the council still remain and it’ll be interesting to see how 2021/22 shapes up. Housing pressures will not ease, and there is minimal truly affordable homes being built.

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Murky Depths

15 thoughts on “Bexley Council gain £9 million government bailout after financial mess

  1. Why are they flying the St George flag and not the union jack? I’ve only ever seen the union Jack up at the 3 councils areas I’ve lived within. This must be a very Tory far right area.

    1. Missed that, how odd. A flag with a Nazi death’s-head on it would be more apt considering the job they’re doing running the place; even more so in terms of the country as a whole …

  2. Nothing very odd about flying a st george flag. I mean we don’t all go nuts about the Scottish flag north of the border or French flag south of the channel.

    As ever with flags, never give in to the far right and let them claim them.

  3. Indeed. I suppose it’s down to the associations and context you attach to it. The St George’s flag has always been popular in Kent and the south of England. It’s only in recent years it’s become synonymous with resurgent ‘white nationalism’ and the far-right.

  4. What rubbish Ballard people fky the St George Flag as it is recognised as the national for England. Where as the Union Jack flag represents the UK as a whole and includes Emgland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    Race does not come in to it at all. So please stop trying to create problems where they do not exist.

    As will all Councils they get in to financial difficulty partly due to Government funding cuts and partly down to the Councils own bad managent of the Counccils budget.

    Murky as report a lot on Local Authorities including neighbouring Labour Controlled Greenwich Council.

  5. Apolgises for spelling mistakes.

    What rubbish Ballard people fly the St George Flag as it is recognised as the national flag for England. It is regularly used for sporting events. Where as the Union Jack flag represents the UK as a whole and includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  6. I was aware of the geographical and historical context of the St George’s flag; this, though, does not detract from the fact that it has a close association with English nationalism and the Far-Right such as the British National Party, English Defence League, Britain First and racist Football hooligan groups.

  7. Ballard, you’re right, the BNP had their HQ at a bookshop in Upper Wickham Lane in Welling around 30 years ago, and there was a riot and nasty confrontation with anti-Nazi demonstrators in 1993. So, yes, Bexley borough does have a bit of history when it comes to far right politics. I doubt whether the St George’s flag being hoisted has much to do with this though.

  8. Thanks for that info Tim.

    “I doubt whether the St George’s flag being hoisted has much to do with this though.”

    = Agree. wasn’t inferring that it was though. The thread just went that way as the person I responded to brought up its nationalist associations; the rest was just hyperbole. That’s also why I said context is important.

    1. I agree. In fact, I was addressing that last sentence to others rather than you, given that it’s quite clear how some like to misunderstand things – it’s almost as if they do so just to stir up controversy.

      1. ” it’s almost as if they do so just to stir up controversy.”

        = Yes, it’s that. See articles in the press today regarding the Conservative Party’s strategy of fabricating divisive culture-wars.

        Everything I posted above—outside of the obviously parodical totenkopf comment—is based known facts.

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