Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Town Council Grant to Magpas

The Conservative run Town Council made a Grant to MAGPAS for £2000. Nothing wrong in that I would have thought.
The Grant Aid policy states:

St Neots Town Council grants are made for the benefit of people and projects local to St Neots. Application will be considered for financial assistance towards a specific project or activity from community associations, cultural, educational, sporting and charitable organisations, which are non-commercial and whose membership and field of activity is centred in the area covered by St Neots Town Council. The Council is prevented by statute from giving financial assistance to individuals. Funds are allocated annually to provide grants to cultural, sporting and community groups serving St Neots (including Eaton Ford, Eaton Socon and Eynesbury).

It can be argued that MAGPAS is of "benefit of people local to St Neots", but I cannot argue the membership and field of activity us centred in the area covered by St Neots Town Council.

But there you go. This grant has been paid out to a worthy organisation which roughly meets the Town Council criteria.

What am I having a go at then?

MAGPAS didn't filed its accounts for 2010 on time. MAGPAS had 10 months to get its accounts in and has failed to meet this deadline. When it did it showed a massive loss of £313,589' I know the Town Council has a history of not getting its charity accounts in on time and the Conservatives put in the Town Councils accounts late. MAGPAS gets much publicity for its activities and fundraising efforts. It also runs a lottery and had a £250,000 donation campaign. MAGPAS has a duty to get its accounts in on time. The reason it didn't is because it is nearly bust.

With the "racist play group" incident the Conservatives, in opposition, set the bar higher. The Conservatives came up with the ruse that the Liberal Democrats should have known the Playgroup was racist before it gave it funds. Therefore should the Conservatives have known MAGPAS was going to put its accounts in late? The simple answer is YES!

The Conservatives set the bar higher in they expect the Town Council to foresee what might happen and act accordingly.

As I said during the "racist playgroup incident":

"Now I'm not having a go at the Town Council for making the grant. The Town Council has to trust that people will spend the money wisely and for why it was granted. Otherwise it is a new set of red tape which will cost the Council Taxpayer yet more."

It is easy to take pot shots at those in power. The Conservatives were very opportunistic with the "Racist Play Group" incident. By doing so they set the bar higher for themselves in that anyone in receipt of a grant who doesn't comply with the law will reflect badly on the Town Council. MAGPAS hasn't complied with the law.

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