Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Surprises from the Stratford Labour party

I recently returned home to find that the local Labour candidate and his team had visited my area and left a copy of their leaflet. It is not however this surprise visit of Labour candidates in a Conservative stronghold that I refer to above,  but the the fact that their leaflet states that the local Labour party is campaigning on a platform to restore funding to a business that is now in administration and therefore totally unable to deliver any services and that they would never have stopped funding it in the first place.

This company in question is of course South Warwickshire Tourism Ltd, the private company that  operates Shakespeare Country and the Stratford tourist information office. My understanding of the situation is that the council discovered that he company was no longer a viable business, and that it was therefore only a matter of time before public money in the form of grants and payments from Stratford District council ended up being used to pay off it’s creditors rather than provide tourism services to the region. The only option despite the bad timing was therefore to withdraw the funding before it was too late.

A quick review of  the accounts on file at Companies House shows that in 2008 the business had a turnover of 1.1 million pounds, much of which, one would imagine, was public money, and yet still made a loss of £137,196 and in 2009 had a turnover of 1.2 million pounds yet made a loss of £52,000. Most worryingly it also had debts payable within a year of £430,782 meaning that in 2009, 35% of it’s turnover, much of which was no doubt paid from council tax receipts from Stratford District Council, did not go towards promoting tourism, but instead towards paying off debts.

The accounts also point out that Stratford District council is not their only source of income with additional funding from Warwick District Council and payments for a join venture agreement to operate the visitor contact centre in Coventry. So should the withdrawal of Stratford Council’s funding really have had such an impact if the company was well managed?

Perhaps in reality I shouldn’t be surprised by the way the Stratford Labour party wants to throw public money after bad. They are after all representatives of the party who, for the last 13 years, has run the country at a record loss (deficit) and has had to resort to printing money to stop the creditors foreclosing on our country. Maybe they think that  Stratford District council should have cranked up their own printing press to keep funding an insolvent businesses.

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  1. Still with "First past the post" in place don't let the reds cause you to loose any sleep Simon..

    In reality you got to admire them for making the effort in a place like Stratford, a pretty thankless task unless you happen to be Conservative (national level not District :))

  2. Ok, so the company was losing a lot of money. But have you made any attempt to quantify how much money it brought into the town through promoting tourism?