Councillor hits out at £70,000 SCDC business boost plan
PUBLISHED: 14:53 06 January 2012
A DISTRICT councillor has hit out at plans to spend £70,000 on supporting businesses in South Cambs claiming the cash won't make one "iota of difference".
South Cambs District Council’s cabinet will discuss the investment next week with the money earmarked to build a new website, improve broadband links and bolster community transport.
Cllr Deborah Roberts, independent representative for Fowlmere, believes the authority would be better off making local firms aware of the benefits they are entitled to.
And would prefer a hand’s off approach from both local and central government.
“I have to say I’m never entirely convinced that a council can actually make improvements in businesses and how successful they are,” she said.
“Quite honestly I never think it’s worth spending tax payers’ money on these schemes.
“The money should be spent on council business rather than prying into private enterprise, in the big picture of business it is a minuscule amount and what we want to be looking at is bringing the best out of businesses in the area.
“We need to see if they are entitled to any cuts in their local taxes and helping out businesses like small village shops.
“That’s what we should be doing - rather than spending £70,000 that wont make one iota of difference.”
Defending the scheme the authority’s economic development cabinet member believes the cash will help businesses prosper and build on the body’s £150,000 investment in 2011.
Cllr Nick Wright said: “This investment will help cement our credentials as a district that is open for business. In some cases the amounts are relatively small, such as additional funds for rural transport, but this is exactly what is needed to fill the gaps and provide a lifeline and prevent people in some of the most rural areas becoming isolated.
“Helping businesses prosper is part of our plans we are developing to boost the economy in the area; and over the next year we will be building on our successes of the past twelve months that have seen us help dozens of businesses who have needed an extra hand during some tough times.”