LAMBETH COUNCIL BAN THE BEEB!!!
Lambeth council banned BBC TV cameras from the Cressingham estate at Tulse Hill prior to yesterday’s broadcast of the ‘Sunday Politics’ programme.
The BBC were there to film an item on the Lambeth Peoples Audit report which found the council has wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers money.
BBC TV were allowed to film a short interview with one of Lambeth council’s two deputy leaders, Cllr Imogen Walker, who repeated what will now become a familiar Labour mantra – that the report was by Lib Dems and Greens and a pack of lies.
Lambeth Peoples Audit was a political organisation being presented as something else, she added.
Interviewed by the BBC two of the ‘armchair auditors’ – Simon Morrow and Cressingham resident Tom Keene laughed at Cllr Walker’s reaction. Simon Morrow said he had never belonged to a political party – and had no intention of joining one.
The BBC presenter told viewers Lambeth had stopped them from filming because of “estate regeneration” (demolition) and that they were not allowed to film there at all.
In the wake of yesterday morning’s broadcast – which featured in the show’s regional section – Lambeth Peoples’ Audit have hit back at the claims that ‘citizen auditors’ are a ‘facade’ for the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
“Instead of attacking residents who have raised legitimate concerns about Lambeth’s lack of financial mismanagement, we call on the council’s leadership to answer their questions” said Simon Morrow.
Mr Morrow, co-ordinator of the Lambeth Peoples’ Audit said questions raised by the 10-strong team of ‘citizen auditors’ include:
1. What has the council done to investigate the appearance of price fixing by contractors?
2. On one estate in Vauxhall, where documents show that in three blocks of flats Lambeth paid invoices for twice the amount of brickwork and concrete repairs than that carried out by the subcontractor, what has the council done to check the other 13 blocks?
3. Why is Lambeth’s finance department unable to access invoices worth £8 million paid by the housing department?
4. What steps is Lambeth taking to reduce its poor record on housing repairs, given the £10.4 million it has paid out in housing disrepair compensation over five years (30 per cent of all those made by local authorities in the UK)?
5. Why is Lambeth not getting a better deal in its dealings with developers – for example in its relationship with Pocket Living, which has received discounts worth £1m on three plots sold by the council?
Mr Morrow, a quantity surveyor, said Lambeth Peoples’ Audit was made up of local residents with of a range of political views and is not a façade for any political party.
“We share a desire to hold to account the council that is spending our money.
“We want to play our part in helping Lambeth Council do a much better job in serving us, its residents. “We believe greater openness and transparency will lead to better decisions and we urge other people to exercise the rights we all have to scrutinise our councils’ spending.
“Instead of attacking us, we hope Lambeth will take note of the problems we have shone a spotlight on, take our concerns seriously, and make it a priority to improve its financial management and governance systems.
“Then, instead of leaking money out to contractors through poor financial management, more money would be available to spend on precious local services that Lambeth residents need.”
Editor’s note: News From Crystal Palace sent 101 questions to all 12 members of Lambeth council’s cabinet based on the Lambeth Peoples Audit report last week. No answer yet…….