Friday, March 16, 2007

Manston Kent Council’s Mystery Money

I’ve bought up the subject of Kent councils apparent involvement in Manston more than once but earlier this week; I thought I would have one last attempt to get clarification from Kent Council as to how much money, if any was actually spent on the aborted Flights from Manston to Virginia scheme.

I rang the councils press office, the guy I spoke with, confirmed once again that no money from Kent taxpayers or owned on their behalf had been spent, now it maybe me maybe I’ve gone doolally because I just could not believe what I was being told and here is my recollection.

The spokesperson would not concede that money, belonging or held in any sort of trust for council taxpayer, had in anyway been used for this project. What he did say was this and it sounds like complete nonsense or bollix to me, money had been spent, however the wonga came from a development project.

Now at this point I went into responsible parent mode and wanted a detailed explanation as to where the money had originated (you know how young children find money lying about the house and just naturally assume its there for the taking (like the house keeping)).

It seems that at some time in the past KCC had invested money, which we both seemed to agree was Taxpayers money in West Malling. Since that land has been developed, and money generated from the profits, has now apparently mutated, having no link with the people of Kent it’s no longer our money, its “regeneration money”.

Now the economic theory behind this is probably beyond me, and I guess the spokesperson sensed this, looked at the clock and realised there weren’t enough hours in the day to explain and the conversation wound up.

I’ve had time to consider this and this is what I think, KCC are being reticent because they have created some breakthrough economic theory, simply put they have created what I call “Magic” money, they have the ability to take money from one source and through some secret process make new money which they don’t need to account for.

Maybe I’m a just muggle and perhaps KCC is populated with wizards and magicians but even so, its sad that politicians and local authority employees, can’t be more open, if as most people seem to suspect an expensive cock up, has taken place why not admit all in one go.

Finally refusal to be open about this business, just looks arrogant, admittedly there is little the voter can do, you could try the audit commission or is it the district auditor I contacted them over the Turner thing, I think as every drop of money was accounted for, as is slipped into the sea there was nothing to worry about.


  1. Is that called laundering?

  2. No i think its called arrogance.

    I have never heard anyone think that this project was ever a goer apart from Paul Carter Tory Leader and Chief Executive Peter (4 Star) Gilroy

    What gets me is I wrote a post suggesting that Kent council were not being as open about the finance side, I even re wrote it to be as fair as possible to Paul Carter. I should not have bothered.

    Kent council's press release,on this subject,gave me the impression that no money had been lost. I am probably alone in considering it to have been misleading.

    I just hope that KCC's Press department was not being used for party political purpose

  3. Just wanted to say what a great and very funny analysis this is Tony.. You've missed your true calling and there's still time to run for a council seat!

  4. Unfortunately just as Groucho Marx never wanted to belong to any club that would accept him as a member I feel that way about political parties

    Still I could take the Independent route, Westgate looks promising

  5. Tony you are quite wrong to say nobody else thought this was a goer. Thanet Council "invested" two tranches of "Tourism" money, £40,000 in totalin the project.
    When I asked for sight of the Business Plan and projected benefit to Thanet residents I was told by the Cheif Exec that it "was on its way". I still haven't seen it. Perhaps the Cabinet member for Tourism, Roger Latchford has?

  6. Fair enough David, since Thanets Tory group are renowned for their competence and business acumen I forgot to mention this.

    This whole episode deserves full examination; exactly what costs have been incurred. I accept that money has been lost on promotional activities, I would also suggest that some have possibly come out of this better, than they went into it for instance, 600 hundred bookings were taken for this destination now assume that on average people were spending 550 that’s potentially 330,000 worth of business which if Cosmos is any good, they would have converted ( I think the term is consolidated) a portion of this money into sales to other destinations.

  7. Latest information extracted by Scrutiny Councillors at KCC would indicated that about £1 million was lost overall on the Virginia fiasco.
    About £500,000 was public money, £287,000 from KCC, the rest from SEEDA, and District Councils.

  8. Tony I have emailed you a detailed response coming from the scrutiny meeting as you requested. I also have the full documents site address where all can view them in detail for themselves.

  9. chris, Thanks for that info much appreciated

    Light reading I hope