THE report on the investigation into Craven District Councils slack handling of grants paid to householders to renovate their property makes grim reading for tax payers.

It speaks of poor standards, inadequate management procedures and inadequate protection of the public purse.

Two councillors, one the leader of the council, are also criticised for not declaring an interest which can only add to the embarrassment.

And while the investigation has not found any evidence of fraud, it has refused to rule that out categorically as the records kept were so poor.

The negative in this report has been well documented elsewhere in this weeks issue and the council has at least lived up to its promise not to engage in a cover-up. So the battered, dispirited tax payer may look for crumbs of comfort.

The best one can say is that some of Cravens housing stock has been enhanced. The report says that at least the money the council did hand out went towards good quality renovations; no-one has had a holiday in Tenerife on the council.

But some people have undoubtedly had the value of their property considerably enhanced beyond what they were entitled to and at the ratepayers expense as the council, seemingly willy-nilly, authorised extra payments without proper control. It has been compared to providing a Rolls Royce of a job when the council was only required to fund a Morris Minor.

The hard part for Craven Council is that it is condemned as incompetent, badly administered and profligate. It now faces the long arduous task of restoring its morale and reputation. At least with the publication of this report a start can be made.

Sign of the times

THE decision last week to make North Yorkshire Polices horse section redundant will hurt the nostalgics among us.

School memories are filled with police demonstrations of their equine skills, with rows of noisy children lined up and invited to make as much noise as possible with bangs, whistles and rattles as the horses paraded up and down never batting an eyelid.

It is sad that in these cost conscious times, the police have had to make a cold hearted decision and channel the money once spent on horses into other areas. Sad, but not unexpected. North Yorkshire Police have had considerable success dealing with crime, particularly in this area and, if push came to shove, we suspect that most people would be happier to see money spent on catching criminals than maintaining stables.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.