Letter: Our money down the drain

For some time now I’ve been doing an online feature for friends and family about where the money goes. Among other revelations, the Barnsley Council Glassworks debt was revealed to be £139.5m.
Oliver CoppardOliver Coppard
Oliver Coppard

Sadly the rents don’t cover the loans as they bring in £4.5m while the finance officer states they need to be £5.2m. Thats £700,000 short. Plus the total debts now stand at £676.9m.

The tree scandal alone saw money misused and wasted and I’m certain those affected will bring the public’s attention to that and the lack of comment from the councillors and MPs.

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So, in the spirit of good housekeeping it might be worth bringing to the attention of our Gove admiring evidence free Mayor Coppard that it’s our money, not his. One of the points of having a Mayor forced on us was supposed to be about getting transport sorted so that people could travel and rely on a comprehensive bus service. Many will remember the cheap fares services so anything less would be a failure. Which the Betts Review concluded - municipalisation, the best way to provide services.

Instead, our Mayor muttered something about franchising sometime in the future - 2043 has been mention so I’ll need an ouija board to hold him to account. In the meantime, instead of looking at what’s needed - the repeal of 1985 and 2017 bus acts which prevent councils owning and running buses - he’s decided to shovel millions into the pockets of the private companies. How much? I hope you’re sitting down.

£28.6m And not one extra bus. In fact fewer, with the loss of Powell’s. Which the Mayor could have bought and run.

Had Jarvis heeded the Betts conclusions Coppard could now be at the forefront of a revolutionary municipal bus service and the people of SY could start to see a growing and reliable service. Instead, the same damaging incompetent ideology which devastated the bus services in the 80’s has replaced evidence led decisions and public consultations.

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And we know how that worked out. The parallels with Thames Water are clear - a transfer of public wealth to private interests. Thames looks like having to be brought back into public ownership so why not the South Yorkshire buses? Before even more tens of millions are wasted!

Mike Smith

Park Grove, S70

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