Friday, 24 February 2012


Regular readers of this blog will now that I have held long standing concerns over the Tory County Council's £2m annual spend on the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (previously Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited) whose board of Directors includes one Jim Harker aka Leader of the County Council.

Almost a year ago I was criticised by the Leader of the Council for suggesting that the County's £2m proposed new grant to NEP had little to do with economic development but more to do with saving a few red faces at County Hall, because without the £2m grant and having lost its other regional grants from the government office East Midlands NEL could have gone bust, leaving the Council a very heavy financial liability in potential pension payouts. Utter nonsense they all cried at the time.

And yet yesterday at the County Council full budget meeting the section 151 officer (Council bean counter) finally agreed with me! Both the Lib Dem and Labour alternative budgets proposed the scrapping of this over generous grant, particularly at a time when council staff are being thrown on the dole, streets lights have been switched off and PCSO's are being cut due to the continued savage cuts on Local Government spending. So in response to Labours' proposals the 151 officers report confirmed beyond doubt that without the Councils grant then the organisation could fold and the pension cost to the council (which last year they told us wasn't a problem) would be now be considerable! Perhaps it is only a problem when the opposition propose it?

As you would expect yesterday I supported both opposition motions, after all, I am sure we could all suggest better ways in which that money could be spent, after all what exactly does NEP do? Well for a start they have nothing to do with the £200m Northampton Enterprise Zone, government cash for that initiative was secured by SEMLEP (South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership) Nor are they responsible for the £25m redevelopment plan for Northampton's Castle Station that is being led by the soon to be no more WNDC (West Northamptonshire Development Corporation) The Grovesnor Centre expansion and new bus interchange?  No that's NBC (Northampton Borough Council) and L&G (Legal and General) So what exactly do NEP do with our money? Well there is that Brussels office they run of course to the estimated tune of £300,000 a year, and a look at their 2010 accounts (then as NEL) shows that over 50% of their income is spent on administration! Not much left for driving the local economy then?

Palais de Festival
But yesterday I asked Cllr Jim Harker a few more difficult questions regarding NEL and NEP.  For a start I asked him how he could justify at a time of such savage cuts to services giving money to NEP when for at least the past 5 years they have spent untold sums on a yearly fun in the sun trip to Cannes in the South of France to promote the Rose of the Shires at the annual MIPIM conference for Real Estate Executives?

Jim got very angry at this and informed the Council that NEP had never been there (Well they couldn't have done as this years event is in March 2012 and they only changed their name at companies house from NEL to NEP last June)

He went on to tell the  Council that I had initially not even  mentioned NEL in my speech even though I used the words "NEL and NEP" in my opening statement. He said that NEL was a "separate" "independent body"to NEP even though Companies House shows clearly that Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership's date of corporation to be the 26th January 2006! and records the name change from NEL to NEP on the 1st June 2011. Two separate bodies? or just the same one? and who sat on the board of this company prior to and after the name change? You guessed it one Jim Harker.

Now gentleman Jim was keen to dismiss my concerns as "scurrilous" rumours,  he told the Council that he knew of no case of NEP officers going to Cannes,  technically correct, if we give him the benefit of doubt that the same officers went as officers of NEL even though they are one and the same. He also said that as far as he was aware NEL never went in it's penultimate year? would that be 2010? or 2009?

Either or really because amongst my scurrilous rumours were the details I gave about the event in 2009 where  guests attended a lunch to hear Kevin Mcloud from Channel 4's "Grand Designs" talk about sustainable housing details of which are here in investnorthamptonshire 2010 MIPIM web contribution helpfully listing the names of the officers of NEL who never attended (all 8 of them)? They tell us where they can be contacted here at the Palais De Festival where the Cannes International Film Festival vies with MIPIM for floorspace or even better here at the La Mandala
La Mandala

As well as flights and hotel bills and swanky luncheons we can even wonder at the additional cost to NEL of the 2009 "communications strategy using digital marketing techniques including a specially designed microsite, video and email campaign and the integrated use of these digital communication tools" as provided to NEL by Ferrier Pierce Creative Group here

Now I had also been informed by a whistle blower in NEL/NEP that a cabinet or cabinet members had on occasion/s flew out to participate in the proceedings, I asked Jim about this and he said he personally never has done and that he knows of no other cabinet member who has done so.

So let me be clear and fair.  I am happy to take him at his word on that score and hope my informer can correct the impression they gave, if they do I will gladly inform Council of that fact and apologise for any wrong information given.  But do I care who exactly went on this annual works outing?  No not one bit, but I do care that at a time when services are being cut to the bone and when we can't even afford to turn on the street lights that we are giving £2m to a repetitious unnecessary Quango for them to spend half of it on running their administration and part of it on offices in Brussels and annual trips to Cannes on the French Riviera.

And if we can get ourselves all worked up,  rightly so about that "£3000 painting" celebrating Tory Chair Rosemary Bromwich's year as Council Chair, then what are we to make of many more thousands of pounds of Council tax payers money being used to support what even the Financial Times describes as a "famously excessive" "Jamboree" They also got it spot on about local council's though when they said in their pink paper that:

"Some things, of course, never change, including the presence of the local authorities, banging the drum for ambitious and often delayed regeneration projects. Under scrutiny for spending tightening budgets on a week away in France, it is unlikely that they will come away with much given that spending on regeneration is the last thing to return in any recovery."
"Canne" I add one other slight concern? given that all of the above fallout was recorded on the Councils webcast (about 5hrs 17 minutes in ) and in front of the local press, am I alone in wondering why you are having to read this rather enlightening news here? and not in the local media?



Blog Archive

Thank You

Thank you for visiting "tonyclarkegreenparty" The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They are made by me personally in my own capacity as free citizen and not as representative of any outside body or council that I may serve on or be employed by. However if anyone is offended by any of these comments or feels that they should be corrected then please contact me in the first instance at and I will do my best to consider your comments and correct any errors.


100 key seats 1980's 1997 2013 50th Birthday 96 Abington Park absent parents abuse Academy Status Adam Simmonds Adam Simmonds. Police and Crime Commisioner Northamptonshire. Class A drugs Adam Simmonds. Police commisioner. Northamptonshire County Council Afghanistan Afro Caribbean Agent airbrushed for change airlines Al Quida Aldi allowances AlQuida Anarchist ANC Andrew Mitchell animated fairy story Anjona Roy Ann Frank Ann Timson Apathy Arab League Council Archway cottages Arms raid arrears. Northamptonshire race Equality Council Ashes to Ashes Ask a Socialist astragate Asylum seekers Audit Baathe Party bamboo joint Banana Banker barbecue tax Bashar Assad bbc BBC radio 4 Bedroom Tax Benefits benito mussolini Benjamin Netanyahu Big Freeze Big Society Billy Bragg Binners Birds black and white cats Black Swans Blair blogger blogs Blood Blowing smoke up your skirt Blue Light Services BNI BNP boardroom buffoons Bone marrow Boris Johnson borough council boot and shoe borough council elections Borough Solicitor BP Bradlaugh Brian Binley Brian Hoare brighton Britain in Bloom British Government broken britain Brown Pelican Bryn Estyn Children's Home budget cuts Bulgarian Bullingdon Club Burglars Bus Interchange Bus Station Bush businesmen Cabinet Call in campaigning Cannes canvassers capitalism Captain Ska Car Park Revenue car parks career wreckers carillion carlisle Carrillion CASPAR Castle Ward Castle Ward 2 Catherine Tate CDC censorship Census 2011 change Charity Commision cheating cheats chicago Chicago Fruit Police Chickens Child Abuse China Chloe Smith Chris Grayling Christmas Christopher Myers chronicle and echo Clement Attlee Cllr Andrew Simpson Cllr Andy Mercer cllr Bill Parker Cllr Brian Hoare Cllr Brian Markham Cllr David Mackintosh Cllr David Palethorpe Cllr David Perkins Cllr Dennis Meredith Cllr Elizabeth Gowen Cllr Gareth Eales Cllr Jean Hawkins Cllr Jim Harker Cllr Jim Harker Road Safety Cllr John Caswell cllr John Yates Cllr Malcolm Mildren Cllr PD Varnsverry Cllr portia wilson Cllr Richard Church Cllr Robin Brown Cllr Sally Beardsworth cllr Scott Collins Cllr Tony Buckley cllr Tony Clarke Cllr Tony Woods Cllr Trini Crake Clr David Perkins Clyde Loakes Coalition government cobblers combustion committee places Community Basher conference 2013 Conservative Conservative Party Conservatives consumption Contracts Corby corporate fools corporate spin corrupt Council Council tenants councy council County Council Election county council elections CPS credit crunch crime Crimea cuts CWU Daily Mail daniel hannan mep. NHS Daventry District Council David Cameron David Harvey David Perkins. Brenden Glynane David Ross day fotlu DDC debt decent homes Defend Council Housing Delapre Abbey democracy wreckers destruction disaster DIT Britain Dostiyo Dot Cotton Duckenfield Duckinfield Ealing Council Earworm Community East Midlands in Bloom East Midlands Labour Party easy read economy Ed Balls Ed Millaband Ed Milliband education election Elections 2013 Electoral iregularity Ellis Island email Emilie Oldknow Emily Oldknow Empowerment fund Enterprise Enterprise Managed Services Environment Agency Eric Pickles ester ranzen EU euro European parliament expelled F W De Clerk F*ck you facebook FAir is worth fighting for Fairground ducks Fairytale of New York Far Right fire Fish MArket Fitzy fixed penalty notice Flashman Floods Florence and the Machine flytipping Fountain free Friends of Delapre Abbey Full Council Gaddafi Gang Culture Gaza GDP general election Geoff Howes George Bush George Bush Jr George Osborne George Osbourne Germany Glasgow mosque GMB Golden Handshake google gordon brown government Government Cuts Grant Shapps greed Greedy Bankers Greek economy Green Green Party Greyfriars growth 1980's Guantanaomo Bay. Shaker Aamer Guernsey Harry Enfield Havelock Havildar Gaje Ghale haymarket Hazel Blears health Helicoptors Help the aged highways Hillsborough hoodies hope not hate House of Commons House of Lords Housing Housing numbers Housing. eviction human rights Ian Gibson IDF il duce Immigration imprint Independent Independent Green Independent Network independents India Injunction inquiry international internet Iran Iraq Iraq war ISIS Islamaphobia Israel Italy IVA jedward Jeremy Clarkson jerk chicken Jihadists Jimmy Carr Jimmy Saville jingles Joe Joyce John Dickie john gardner John Lennon Johnston Press Journalists justice justice for the 96 KBC Ken Livingstone Kevin Quigley Khudadad Khan KPMG Kraken Kurdistan La Madala Labour Labour Group Labour Party Lady Wantage Lampedusa Land Tax Lansbury last of the summer wine Leadership election league two Learning difficulty Learning Disability Lebanon Lee Barron leeds Legal and General Liar Liar Lib Dem Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrats Liberals Libya libya. david cameron Likely lads Lily allen Liverpool lloyd grossman local candidates local governance local government Local Government Association local press localism bill Loft insullation London Labour London Olympics london riots Loo of the year Lord Mandelson Lord Michael Ashcroft Lord Stuart-Smith Lord Taylor Lord Waterhouse LSE Mackenzie mad as a box of frogs Madiba Mahmoud Abbass Malcolm Mildren Margaret Thatcher Market Square Market Square Fountain Market Trader Martyn Gilleard martyrs May 2ns Medhi Hussein media Michael Ellis Michael Foot Michael Turner QC Micheal Ellis MP micheal martin Middle Classes Middle East migrants Mike Ferrigan Milk Snatcher millions Miserable old sod mk dons mortgages MP's Expenses mps expenses Multi Agency Group Muslim community Narrowboats Nasseem Nicholas Taleb Nathan Worrell National Debt national front Nato Nazis. EU NBC NCC Neil Lewington Neil Magregor NEL. MIPIM Nelson Mandela Neo Nazis NEP New Statesman New Year NHS Nick Clegg nick clegg.norman clegg Nick Griffin Niel Kinnock NNDC NNJPU Noor Inyat Khan North Wales Police Northampton Northampton Borough Council Northampton Chronicle and Echo Northampton Conservatives Northampton Independent group northampton independent voice Northampton Labour Party Northampton Labour Party. Northampton Borough Council Northampton Liberal Democrats Northampton Saints Northampton South Northampton South Conservatives Northampton Town Football Club Northamptonshire County Council Northamptonshire County Council Elections Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership Northamptonshire Music Service Northamptonshire Police Norwich North not all party's are the same ntfc Number 10 Observer Oil Old Labour Oliver Tambos Paddy Tipping MP pakistan Palais de Festival Palestine Parish Poll. Police Commissioner Elections parking parking services parliament parsons Party Political Broadcast Paul Blantern Paul Varnsverry PCC Pegasus Penalty Charge Notices pensioners pest control pest express Peter Mandelson Peter Righton pfi phillip mears photos for all occasions Pinky and Perky Plain English planning police Police and crime Commissioner Police Commisioners Police Commissioner elections political Polycythemia Pope Francis poplar porkie pies President Obama privatisation Professor Pongoo proportionality public consultation public deficit Public Service cuts purdah que sara sara Racism Radio 4 rats Rebekah Brooks reccession Recycling referendum refuse collection regional labour party relegation Rememberence Sunday residents parking retail Richard Hannon right wing riots Robert Cottage Romanian roofing RPA act RSA Rushden Sainsburys Sally Keeble Sam King Scrutiny Seb Coe Second Life Shame on you shameless Shami Chakrabarti Sheltered Housing Shire shirkers Shona Deans Messinger silver medal Simon Cox Simon Williams Skateboarders skivers. scroungers Slipping back in time SNC Snow Spad speaker spies spring boroughs Spring Boroughs Residents squandering St Andrews st andrews road St James Stagecoach stagnation standard and poors standards board stealth tax Stephen Pound MP. Jeffrey Archer Steptoe and Son Steve Messham Stock Market street lights supergran suspended Syria Taliban Tax Evasion tax the rich tea team GB Terry Waite Tescos Tess Scott Thatcher The Cobblers The Conservative Party The Green 'Un The Green PArty The Press The Queen The Report The Ridings The Saints the story of broke the story of change the story of stuff The Sun through the keyhole ticckle Till Death do us part" Tom Watson MP Tony Blair Tony Clarke Tony Clarke MP Tony Woods Tory Tory Government Tory Party Tory's town centre trade unions Trees Trevor Kavanagh TTIP TUC Trident Tuck Inn TVC E-coli and coliforms tweets twitter UAF UK debt UK floods UK Government UK riots UKIP UKIP. Green Party UKIP. Labour Party Ukraine Ulric Cross ULT UN unemployment union flag unitary authorities unitary government Unite against Facism United Learning Trust united nations Unity College Upper class USA usual channels Vara Varnsverry. Guildhall vat Virtual vlog vote Walter Tull Waltham Forest Wardens watchdog WDC Welfare welfare cuts west northamptonshire joint planning unit Westbridge Westminster Weston Favell School what's the point of Nick Clegg wicked William Hague window dressing winter wonderland witch hunt WNDC WNJPU workers Working Class working mens clubs workshy written questions WWII youth services