Fears that favouritism saw Swindon miss out on Portas cash

This Is Wiltshire: Mary Portas Mary Portas

SWINDON Council’s Labour group says the town could have been robbed of thousands of pounds to improve the town centre following allegations that preferential treatment was shown to a town in a Government Minister’s constituency.

Swindon was one of more than 370 authorities which applied to the Government for up to £100,000 as part of the so-called Portas Pilots scheme, launched with the backing of retail guru Mary Portas.

But, despite revising its bid after failing in a first round of funding, the town was again not named among a second wave of 15 new pilot areas which Minister Grant Shapps announced in July.

It has since transpired in a national newspaper that a Conservative councillor for Hatfield, in Mr Shapps's constituency, was the only person to have a face-to-face meeting with senior civil servants over securing the cash.

The Hertfordshire town was one of only 15 “town teams”, from nearly 400 bidders, to secure the £100,000 grant.

Prior to September's cabinet reshuffle, Mr Shapps, who is also the Conservative Party chairman, was responsible for the scheme.

Coun Jim Grant, Swindon’s Labour group leader, said: “If the allegations are true, then Swindon has missed out on much needed funding for our town centre without being allowed to make our case to ministers.

“The Government will be facing questions as to why is it only the constituency represented by the Conservative Party Chairman’s who gets access to Whitehall officials.

“I am deeply concerned as to why Swindon is being left out of the whole process. Swindon has a larger population than Hatfield, and is, in my opinion, in far greater need of town centre improvement.

“I would now like to see Swindon’s two MPs taking this matter up in Parliament, South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “My understanding of the Portas Pilots is they were really targeting town centres in a more difficult economic situation than Swindon and I’m absolutely sure that any favouritism was not part of the decision-making process.

“I cannot imagine Mary Portas, who is not political or part of the Government would want to be part of any political process.”

Comments (20)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:03am Thu 29 Nov 12

EmmBee says...

"..up to £100,000" ? Swindon council would just spend that on another statue, that's probably why we didn't win.
"..up to £100,000" ? Swindon council would just spend that on another statue, that's probably why we didn't win. EmmBee
  • Score: 0

11:19am Thu 29 Nov 12

StillPav says...

Didn't Swindon council spend nearly £5m on new paving slabs, the cost of which was justified due to it having to be spent on "town centre improvements"?

£100,000 wouldn't even touch the sides with our council.
Didn't Swindon council spend nearly £5m on new paving slabs, the cost of which was justified due to it having to be spent on "town centre improvements"? £100,000 wouldn't even touch the sides with our council. StillPav
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Robh says...

Oh no. Are Labour accusing the Tories of a backdoor deal.

I'm sure they (Labour) would never do anything so underhanded.
Oh no. Are Labour accusing the Tories of a backdoor deal. I'm sure they (Labour) would never do anything so underhanded. Robh
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Thu 29 Nov 12

PJC says...

I don't understand how Portas is held up as some sort of guru. Don't think £100,000 would have gone very far in any case.
I don't understand how Portas is held up as some sort of guru. Don't think £100,000 would have gone very far in any case. PJC
  • Score: 0

12:52pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Empty Car Park says...

£100,000 ?

Swindon Borough Clownschool would spend that on something like a shoddy Christmas tree effort for the magic roundabout.

That's the sort of reason we will never win that type of funding
£100,000 ? Swindon Borough Clownschool would spend that on something like a shoddy Christmas tree effort for the magic roundabout. That's the sort of reason we will never win that type of funding Empty Car Park
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Thu 29 Nov 12

The Real Librarian says...

How much did that stupid fountain cost again?

Exactly
How much did that stupid fountain cost again? Exactly The Real Librarian
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Thu 29 Nov 12

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

If it was for only £100,000 and it took two attempts to put the bid together, I wonder how much would have been saved by not bothering.

Take into account the costs of putting that bid together and the difference is probably not that great. How many people; how many consultants etc etc etc.
If it was for only £100,000 and it took two attempts to put the bid together, I wonder how much would have been saved by not bothering. Take into account the costs of putting that bid together and the difference is probably not that great. How many people; how many consultants etc etc etc. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Best in the West says...

Don't think much was spent on the video
though...

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=kTfYQhGVy
yM

probably the dullest two minutes you will have this year.
Don't think much was spent on the video though... http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=kTfYQhGVy yM probably the dullest two minutes you will have this year. Best in the West
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Morsey says...

I fail to see a single benefit in Swindon having elected the pair of Tories? Anyone out there think of a positive, other than a personal CV mark for either?
I fail to see a single benefit in Swindon having elected the pair of Tories? Anyone out there think of a positive, other than a personal CV mark for either? Morsey
  • Score: 0

3:43pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Hmmmf says...

So, Swindon's Labour group aren't whining about the 12 other towns who won Portas funding in the first round of awards.

And Swindon's Labour group isn't whining about the 14 other towns who won Portas funding in the second round of awards.

Swindon's Labour group is whining about one town out of 27 which happens to be in a Conservative minister's constituency?

Said Jim Grant, Swindon's Labour group leader, not referring to any of the other 26 towns to win funding: "Swindon has a larger population than Hatfield, and is, in my opinion, in far greater need of town centre improvement."

In response, Mary Portas did not say "Who the hell is Jim Grant and what's his opinion got to do with it?"
So, Swindon's Labour group aren't whining about the 12 other towns who won Portas funding in the first round of awards. And Swindon's Labour group isn't whining about the 14 other towns who won Portas funding in the second round of awards. Swindon's Labour group is whining about one town out of 27 which happens to be in a Conservative minister's constituency? Said Jim Grant, Swindon's Labour group leader, not referring to any of the other 26 towns to win funding: "Swindon has a larger population than Hatfield, and is, in my opinion, in far greater need of town centre improvement." In response, Mary Portas did not say "Who the hell is Jim Grant and what's his opinion got to do with it?" Hmmmf
  • Score: 0

4:23pm Thu 29 Nov 12

I 2 Could B says...

Morsey wrote:
I fail to see a single benefit in Swindon having elected the pair of Tories? Anyone out there think of a positive, other than a personal CV mark for either?
The biggest bonus of all is that they're not Labour party members.

This article reeks of desperation in the local Labour group camp. Maybe they'd care to refresh everyone's memories regarding the way the Labour government spirited tax money away from the South in order to lavish/waste it in their voting heartlands up North and in Scotland during the miserable 13 years they were in office?

No, I thought not.
[quote][p][bold]Morsey[/bold] wrote: I fail to see a single benefit in Swindon having elected the pair of Tories? Anyone out there think of a positive, other than a personal CV mark for either?[/p][/quote]The biggest bonus of all is that they're not Labour party members. [p] This article reeks of desperation in the local Labour group camp. Maybe they'd care to refresh everyone's memories regarding the way the Labour government spirited tax money away from the South in order to lavish/waste it in their voting heartlands up North and in Scotland during the miserable 13 years they were in office? [p] No, I thought not. I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

5:37pm Thu 29 Nov 12

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Morsey wrote:
I fail to see a single benefit in Swindon having elected the pair of Tories? Anyone out there think of a positive, other than a personal CV mark for either?
I think the same could be said for most MP's regardless of party.

I seem to recall a certain Swindon Labour MP, who's only achievement whilst in office was getting breast feeding into house of commons....... How many people benefited from that little gem.

http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Julia_Drown
[quote][p][bold]Morsey[/bold] wrote: I fail to see a single benefit in Swindon having elected the pair of Tories? Anyone out there think of a positive, other than a personal CV mark for either?[/p][/quote]I think the same could be said for most MP's regardless of party. I seem to recall a certain Swindon Labour MP, who's only achievement whilst in office was getting breast feeding into house of commons....... How many people benefited from that little gem. http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Julia_Drown LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

8:10am Fri 30 Nov 12

Alan B'stard says...

Boring! Shut up Labour.
Boring! Shut up Labour. Alan B'stard
  • Score: 0

9:28am Fri 30 Nov 12

Empty Car Park says...

Alan B'stard wrote:
Boring! Shut up Labour.
And Tory.

Let's get down to the business of running Swindon instead of playing "Plastic Westminster" or "Dodgy Dragons' Den" with taxpayers' investment
[quote][p][bold]Alan B'stard[/bold] wrote: Boring! Shut up Labour.[/p][/quote]And Tory. Let's get down to the business of running Swindon instead of playing "Plastic Westminster" or "Dodgy Dragons' Den" with taxpayers' investment Empty Car Park
  • Score: 0

9:33am Fri 30 Nov 12

I 2 Could B says...

Empty Car Park wrote:
Alan B'stard wrote: Boring! Shut up Labour.
And Tory. Let's get down to the business of running Swindon instead of playing "Plastic Westminster" or "Dodgy Dragons' Den" with taxpayers' investment
I'm very pleased to here you sending such a direct message to Jim Grant and your local Labour pals.

Although, of course, the local Labour group don't run Swindon... thankfully.

By the way, what does 'Plastic Westminster' mean?
[quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alan B'stard[/bold] wrote: Boring! Shut up Labour.[/p][/quote]And Tory. Let's get down to the business of running Swindon instead of playing "Plastic Westminster" or "Dodgy Dragons' Den" with taxpayers' investment[/p][/quote]I'm very pleased to here you sending such a direct message to Jim Grant and your local Labour pals. [p] Although, of course, the local Labour group don't run Swindon... thankfully. [p] By the way, what does 'Plastic Westminster' mean? I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

10:29pm Fri 30 Nov 12

Empty Car Park says...

Explaining "plastic Westminster" to you would be a wasted effort Oliver since you believe everybody has a sworn allegiance to a political party.

Most people have a life outside politics.

Very few are desperate political wannabes like you
Explaining "plastic Westminster" to you would be a wasted effort Oliver since you believe everybody has a sworn allegiance to a political party. Most people have a life outside politics. Very few are desperate political wannabes like you Empty Car Park
  • Score: 0

9:23am Sat 1 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

Empty Car Park wrote:
Explaining "plastic Westminster" to you would be a wasted effort Oliver since you believe everybody has a sworn allegiance to a political party. Most people have a life outside politics. Very few are desperate political wannabes like you
Ah, yes, 10.29pm, Friday night. I Too's been on the sauce and starts being aggressive.

Still, it was to be expected that you wouldn't explain what 'plastic Westminster' means, because you don't really know yourself.
[quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: Explaining "plastic Westminster" to you would be a wasted effort Oliver since you believe everybody has a sworn allegiance to a political party. Most people have a life outside politics. Very few are desperate political wannabes like you[/p][/quote]Ah, yes, 10.29pm, Friday night. I Too's been on the sauce and starts being aggressive. [p] Still, it was to be expected that you wouldn't explain what 'plastic Westminster' means, because you don't really know yourself. I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

2:11pm Sat 1 Dec 12

Empty Car Park says...

2:00 pm on a Saturday and I have hosted a big event for charity.

Not surprising that a failed politician can't work out what "plastic Westminster" means despite having no other life beyond just that

Who's going to vote for Oliver Donachie now?
2:00 pm on a Saturday and I have hosted a big event for charity. Not surprising that a failed politician can't work out what "plastic Westminster" means despite having no other life beyond just that Who's going to vote for Oliver Donachie now? Empty Car Park
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Sat 1 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

Empty Car Park wrote:
2:00 pm on a Saturday and I have hosted a big event for charity. Not surprising that a failed politician can't work out what "plastic Westminster" means despite having no other life beyond just that Who's going to vote for Oliver Donachie now?
No, really, I can't work out what you mean by 'plastic Westminster'. Why do you feel unable to actually explain what you think you mean by it?

Is it because you know full well that you have no idea what it means?
[quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: 2:00 pm on a Saturday and I have hosted a big event for charity. Not surprising that a failed politician can't work out what "plastic Westminster" means despite having no other life beyond just that Who's going to vote for Oliver Donachie now?[/p][/quote]No, really, I can't work out what you mean by 'plastic Westminster'. Why do you feel unable to actually explain what you think you mean by it? [p] Is it because you know full well that you have no idea what it means? I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

1:42am Sun 2 Dec 12

Empty Car Park says...

Anyone with even moderate intelligence could work it out.

YOU are the person that doesn't know what it means.
That's why you asked the question.
As you know full well
Anyone with even moderate intelligence could work it out. YOU are the person that doesn't know what it means. That's why you asked the question. As you know full well Empty Car Park
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree