Thanet Star

TDC missed out on £1.14m in EU grants

According to their own review documents, TDC managed to miss out on £1.14m in already approved EU funding.

The document in question covers a period from 2000 to 2006. During that time, TDC managed to obtain £4.4m in EU funding but somehow managed to lose out on a further million of already approved grants.

TDC missed out on EU money

We are not talking about possibly available EU grant money here but already approved grants. Money that was, in theory, there for the taking. Some of the money was not claimed and so TDC missed out, but over £600,000 was claimed only to be spent badly and then had to be repaid.

Read the figures for yourself. The total claimed by TDC was dwarfed by the amounts of EU cash that KCC were able to put their hands on. One grant alone (just for Thanet) was £26m.

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What's the truth about KCC Strategic Partnerships?

What do you know about the Mental Health Wellbeing Strategic Partners?

For many years now Kent County Council (KCC) has dished their money out to community groups across Kent, including Thanet. If you've used a local service such as Rethink, Mind (when it operated in Thanet), or a whole host of others, then KCC have probably funded it.

KCC spent the last few years talking about replacing their system of yearly renewed grants with a more robust system. They settled on Strategic Partners. KCC invited organisations from any sector to apply to become a Strategic Partner and, those that did, were taken through a process.

Sometime later two Strategic Partners emerged - Porchlight and Shaw Trust. Porchlight has done a fantastic job over the years of supporting the homeless and has recently done some great work in the world of mental health. Shaw Trust have done some great work supporting people with mental health difficulties to get back into employment. They could have picked worse people to be Strategic Partners.

Keep reading to find out what really happened next.


» Continue Reading: What's the truth about KCC Strategic Partnerships?

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Easter Egg

Due to the time of year I was going to write something funny about Jesus hatching from a chocolate egg, but recent events have turned my focus elsewhere. Firstly the devastating attack in Brussels, and secondly everyone is talking about Europe; should we stay, or should we go?

The answer to the latter depends on multiple factors, all of which can be found with a quick internet search. When considering whether Brexit is the right or wrong move, and how that will affect Thanet, it is worth looking back at our past.

The Isle of Thanet has been passed amongst leaders, gifted to local kings and royals at various times throughout history. It was always separated from the mainland by the river Wanstum, originally the Wantsum Channel, making it somewhat detached from the politics of the rest of the country. Nowadays Thanet has become a key seat in national elections, a dramatic change from a thousand years ago or so.

As an island, Thanet benefited from independence, whilst at the same time being under the governance of Great Britain. Similar, it seems, to the current relationship Britain has with the European Union. As the Wantsum filled with silt and the mainland drew closer, we became more and more connected to the country of which we are part. Our full joining was more geographical than political, and it seems highly unlikely the English Channel will suddenly dry up and attach us to France. So our decision to stay in, or leave, the EU is most definitely a choice we need to consciously make, and carefully.

Last weekend, before Brussels, was the Vernal Equinox, the point at which the days start to grow longer than the nights. In ancient Britain, including Thanet, this was a day for great celebration, a sign of hope, ushering in the age of fertility and new life. Rabbits, those relentless breeders, became a symbol of fertility, and eggs were associated with birth. As is still the case today, eggs would be decorated to mark the occasion, although in the modern calendar not necessarily on the same day.

Perhaps we are still as we were a few thousand years ago, here on this little island we call home. We decorate eggs, celebrate the dawn of spring, and often look across the river to the mainland to see what direction we should take. Maybe it's time we took matters into our own hands, let our voices be heard, and stopped worrying about whether Jesus really did hatch from a chocolate egg or not. After all, there are more important issues at stake.

About Seb: When he is not writing guest posts for Thanet Star Seb Reilly is a fiction writer and occasional musician from Thanet. Seb maintains a website at
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Did Thanet Conservatives break the law?

The BBC Report that the Conservatives will be investigated with regard to potential electoral spending irregularities.

A Conservative spokesman claimed that all spending returns were correct and legal.

Others are not so sure.

According to the Independent: An investigation by Channel 4 News said that alleged irregularities in recording expenses in Thanet South meant the Tories broke spending limits during the campaign.

The objection centres around whether the Conservatives should have recorded the use of two hotels in the national party campaign return or should have actually reported them as local campaign spending. If the latter, then that could mean that the Conservatives overspent during the election.

The Electoral Commission's sanctioning powers are limited to a civil penalty of no more than £20,000. Once the commission complete their investigation, Kent Police will decide if there is a criminal case to investigate.

Kent Police said on Thursday then will not pursue a criminal investigating until after the commission delivers its findings.

What many are wondering is this: Did Thanet Conservatives break the law?

This is an important question because, if the answer comes back that the Tories broken the law, there is a real chance of demands for a fresh election in South Thanet.

What do you make of it all?

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Labour win by-election but lose moral high ground

I was at the count for the by-election in Newington.

The results proved hard to call right up to the end when Labour finally took the win.

That means that UKIP have lost another seat and overall majority at TDC. It is starting to seem that any hope of stability at our district council is a fiction as the purple hold on the council becomes increasingly fragile.

The following observations are entirely my own opinion.

Despite a little inter-party tension early on the ballot was, overall, a civil affair. That is unless you happen to be in a place to earwig on conversations between candidates and supporters.

The bitter tribalism seen in council chambers was in full swing, albeit masked by pleasant smiles and every attempt at good manors. At one point I thought that Labours army of rosettes were going to start an argument with the venue managers over their tenancy to crowd the entranceway. Sure, it was very cold but the polling station is not an appropriate place for a political party to hang around in large numbers.

That's not to say that individual members of these groups were not, on the whole, apparently decent people but as a group this was less apparent.

The comments from the ex-conservative UKIP leader, Chris Wells, in Kent online seem to me to be equal parts sour-grapes and paranoia. The Labour comments, on the other hand, seem equal parts premature celebration and unnecessary crowing. Nether the winner nor the looser in that election can hold any claim of being a good sport - UKIP being a bad loosers and Labour very poor winners.

I understand that politics can be a passionate issue but every single person there is a human being, even if they do hold ideas that are next to impossible to agree with. Also, as representatives of the people (apparently), we should be able to expect better behaviour from our political parties.

Labour might have won the election but they seem to have been willing to needlessly surrender the moral high ground while they did.

We need change at TDC and, right now, I do not think that we are simply not being offered it.

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