Letters: How could we afford 120 police officers for boat race?

Ely resident George Peacock was spoken to by police on the day of the Boat Race

On the day of the Boat Race in Ely, local resident George Peacock says he was spoken to by police. "I explained to the police their predicament - that they were forced to enforce rules that had no legal foundation." - Credit: GEOFF ROBINSON

Pushing the boat out

I note with interest page 5 of the latest edition of the Ely Standard headed Boat Race Successes and hope this will be a regular feature.

My anticipation is heightened given the endorsement by our MP, Lucy Frazer in an earlier edition, who hoped local benefits would derive from all the efforts which enabled the varsity boat race to take place here.

Indeed I add my hopes to hers given, as other correspondents have noted, the major costs of the necessary arrangements seem to be for the public account and to those of the police I assume can be added the county council’s costs for the administration of various road closures.

For these, there is a schedule of rates unless there is a legitimate charitable justification for no charge being levied.

An exception the police seem to have accepted notwithstanding The Boat Race Company Limited being a commercial trading entity with, I imagine, fixed costs to cover and a year (2020) with no income.  

While I hardly begrudge Head Fen Country Retreat and Potter Space their income from the event and the Babylon Arts window is excellent, it seems the people of Cambridgeshire have, by default, become a sponsor of the 2021 boat race.

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This is alongside the principal sponsor Gemini, a cryptocurrency specialist who, like any other sponsor seeks a return on its investment and doubtless measures the effectiveness of every cent.

One can but hope the county council, the county constabulary and the district council are doing likewise on our behalf.


Clarification on boat race policing accounts

To provide some context to the statutory accounts of Boat Race Company Limited, and the Oxford and Cambridge Rowing Foundation, it is extremely rare and almost unheard of to expect the trading subsidiary of a charity to publish a profit and loss account in its standalone financial statements where it meets the definition of a “small” company under the Companies Act.

In my 22-year accountancy career I have yet to come across any incorporated entity (commercial or charitable) that elected to do so.

The additional audit/accounting fees are an expense that many small organisations could do without.

Where an entity is 100% owned by another entity, it is usually assumed that the primary users of the accounts are the owners, who would reasonably be expected to have access to the management accounts and detailed P&L performance. 

I would also highlight that Oxford and Cambridge Rowing Foundation provide a summary of the trading subsidiary’s profit and loss account in their own audited financial statements accessible on the Charity Commission website.

Your article’s tone is misleading where referring to corporate sponsorship.

As many small charities will confirm, it can be exceptionally challenging to source corporate funding to cover an event of this nature in its entirety, even an event such as this.

Indeed, by reviewing the latest accounts of Boat Race Company Limited, the company has accumulated losses and has failed to return a profit since the financial year ended 30 June 2017.

I have no connection to the boat race or to its organisers, and did not attend university before starting my professional training with KPMG, so have no interest in the race other than it being an annual highlight in the sporting calendar.

It would be appropriate to update your article to ensure adherence with IPSO’s code of practice, section 1.

TIM DEE, chartered certified accountant based in London

How could we afford police for boat race?

How is it that we can afford 120 police officers to keep the locals from standing on their own riverbank when we cannot afford police in Ely to start with? 

We are plagued with anti-social behaviour from people with noisy cars and motorcycles using Sainsbury's car park as a race track and can never get even one policeman to show up, despite logging complaints almost every night.

It does not seem to be particularly equitable that 16 students in two boats warrant such a presence when the local residents are failed on an ongoing basis.


Letter to my MP and her reply

This is the letter I sent to Lucy Frazer, my local MP. 

I am sorry to contact you during such difficult days but being ‘mugged’ by Cambridgeshire County Council makes this email a necessity. 

In your position within the Ministry of Justice and an MP of the county I thought that you might have some comment to offer or interest in the CCC farmgate mismanagement. 

For over two years, Cambs County Council were forced by opposition councillors and our local press and the intervention of public comment to carry out an audit committee investigation on all aspects of the farmgate fiasco.

Despite the chairman of the audit committee stating that the investigation would be open and the results made available to the public in full the committee voted for the results to be held behind closed doors. 

This was followed by the immediate resignation of its chairman and the refusal of the 480-page document to be made public.
Considerable amounts of money are / were involved hence us the public have been mugged by a large number of CCC (Conservative] councillors as not one has stood by his responsibility to the public for the publication of all documents.
I do understand how difficult it may be to interfere in local issues although you have been involved in many which do not fall into the misuse of public money. 

I am sure many people would be pleased to see your comments and to help get the  document out into the open. It is known as democracy. 

This problem will never go away. I duly signed it and got this response from her this week. 

Dear Kenneth, thank you for contacting me about a report into former the deputy leader’s council tenancy of Manor Farm, Girton, and the council’s farms estate policies and procedures.  

I understand your concerns about this matter, however, as you know the publication of the report is a matter for Cambridgeshire County Council, and specifically the accounts and audit committee.  

I understand from the meeting you referred to that the committee has decided that the full report would not be published at this time.  

I agree with you that the Council should be as transparent as possible, however, I appreciate that there may be a high degree of confidentiality associated with the report.  

This is a matter for the county council and the relevant committee to address.  

You will also appreciate that Roger Hickford was not a county councillor within my South East Cambridgeshire constituency and neither does Manor Farm fall within it.  

Thank you again for taking the time to bring your concerns about this matter to my attention.  


'Affordable homes' and no milk 

Sir Bernard Ingham is quoted as saying Margaret Thatcher 'was kind to her staff'.

It's a pity that kindness didn't extend to more people in the community.

Some years back, council houses were built in great numbers - they represented affordable homes for the poor and working classes which could be rented from the local council.

Mrs Thatcher's Tory Government decided to offer these homes to tenants who could afford to buy at less than the market price, thus removing them from the cheaper renting option for all time.

I liken this to political vandalism in order to gain more Tory votes. As for Mrs Thatcher, 'kind' she was not - she stopped the free milk to little children at school whose parents could not pay for it and one can imagine their thoughts as they watched their better off friends as they continued to have milk.

These days, we have a parallel - Boris Johnson's Tory Government cutting the free TV licences to the over 75s.

A Bible quotation states: "as ye sow, so shall ye reap" - let's hope so.


Refusal to release letter

In response to a Freedom of Information request from the Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats, Mayor James Palmer’s Combined Authority has refused to release a letter from Luke Hall MP, the Minister for Local Government. 

The letter explains why the government has decided to withhold £45 million of the £100 devolved affordable housing funding. 

Palmer’s refusal to release the second letter from the minister Luke Hall - that explains why the government has withheld £45 millions of funding for affordable housing - shows his contempt for normal standards of accountability. 

Palmer has failed the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - especially the hundreds of families who stand to lose the chance for a new home. He cannot continue to hide the reasons for his failure. 

Palmer has used an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act that applies when publication would ‘constitute a breach of confidence actionable’ by the other person.  

Is he really claiming that Luke Hall is going to sue him if he publishes the letter? 

A letter from a government minister to the mayor isn’t some private document. It doesn’t contain personal information about their love life or their holiday arrangements.  

This is a letter between public bodies about millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. We deserve to see it. 

AIDAN VAN-DE WEYER, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 

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