Dear Sir,

Labour Leader, Bob Fleming, referred two weeks ago to a loan I took out of £125,000 at 8.12% on 2 June 1995. As if I had committed some awful act and saddled the Council with debt.

Let’s look more closely at the facts around that shall we.

Firstly, The Finance Committee on 10.2.1993 (Minute 147 refers) proposed by Eddy Adam and seconded by Bob Fleming, agreed to apply for a loan sanction for the new cemetery.

Then the Committee on 6.4.1994 (Minute 164) was advised by the Town Clerk, John Farquhar, that during his absence on sick leave (recovering from a heart attack), that the acting Town Clerk, Tom Toward, had cancelled the loan application. John Farquhar, on his return, had obtained a bridging loan costing only £250, and the loan sanction £125,000 had been re obtained for 1995/96.

The Committee endorsed the actions of the Town Clerk.

On both occasions, the Committee unanimously agreed to these actions, and present at both those meetings and voting in favour was Bob Fleming. On each of these occasions (1993 and 1994), Bob Fleming was Labour Leader and Eddy Adam was Deputy Labour Leader.

In 1995 Bob was Labour Leader and George Gray Deputy Labour Leader. In addition, John Dormer was Chairman and John Wray was Vice Chairman of Finance at the 10.2.93 meeting and John Dormer was Chairman and Angela Fleming Vice Chairman of Finance at the 6.4.94 meeting. I simply signed the loan agreement on 2 June 1995 as the then Chairman of Finance on behalf of the Council. Angela Fleming was my Vice Chairman.

This is just one of the points raised by Bob Fleming, implying I had done something horribly wrong, when in fact he was Labour Leader throughout 1993 to 1995, the Council had unanimously agreed it, I simply applied the Council’s signature in 1995, in accordance with its twice unanimous decision.

Bob Fleming also asserted in Newton News that “on becoming Leader in 1991, he was faced with Council Debts of £632,500 at varying high interest of 9.6% to 14.1% and annual repayment of £41,506.” He then goes on to admit that £366,000 was taken out after 1991 when he was Labour leader.

I have double checked the figures and just as I proved he misled you on the £125,000 loan (which he supported) likewise he misled you again on the £632,500 so called debt in 1991. The Council had taken out loan debt between 1973 and 1983 of £494,500, (before I was elected in May 1983). The Council then took out two loans totalling £158,000 in 1986. The Council then took on a loan of £125,000 on 2.6.1995 and £200,000 on 17.5.2004. Bob was Labour Leader from 1990 and Chairman of Finance from 1997. I think the facts speak for themselves. At no time since he was elected in 1987 did he object to any loans taken out.

Cllr Arun M Chandran