Stadium – why does sport not matter?
Two days on, the debate is still raging on the ‘stadium vote’ around the internal emails of councillors. N0-one has yet explained why this request for funding was chucked out by members without so much as a peek at a detailed case, or why so many Councillors were so set against even considering a £10 million investment when the Council has a capital programme of around a billion pounds that no-one has yet kicked up a fuss about?
To be more exact £900.999 million agreed in November 2011 – I think plus an additional £175 million agreed at the budget, partly funded by increased receipts. (Although I could be double counting that last £175 million. It’s still a lot.)
Labour has a record of investment and as a party, we believe that government has a positive role to play in supporting aspirations, improving communities, kick starting the economy and job creation. Most of the time, it seems like Cornwall Councillors agree.
Cornwall Council recently gave £4 million to the Tate St Ives, which Cllr Chris Ridgers said was ‘totally different’ because the Tate had a track record of success. Hm. So do the Pirates. And the Tate has not been there forever – significant public funding went in to make it a success.
Eden, the Tate, Falmouth Harbour, Heartlands, I think even solar farms are getting between £10 and £14 million investment from Cornwall Council.
Yet, for some reason, just over half the Councillors present on Tuesday, chose not to even think about whether £10million on a stadium for Cornwall would be money well spent and chose not to even give a hearing to thousands of sports fans.
There were members at the meeting on Tuesday who wanted to know why the money could not be allocated to housing or schools or any other scheme of their choice.
There is an ambitious housing programme on the agenda, aimed at provided 48,000 homes over the next ten year, 10,000 of them discounted or for rent. Due to government cuts, the Council is also taking on schools maintenance – and has a capital programme in place.
One thing the money could not be used for is plugging gaps in service provision – capital funding and revenue are separate. It would be like selling your house and living off the proceeds. Sooner or later, it would run out and leave you unable to carry on at all.
So in all that spending and investment, where does sports come? There is a lot of banging on about community and all that, would be interesting to know what priority this is given when so many people in Cornwall feel passionately about it.
Somewhere on line is the Council’s business plan. perhaps that will enlighten me.