Councillors in Mansfield have launched an online petition as part of a last-ditch bid to save the town’s credit union from closure and force mayor Tony Egginton to honour a pledge to keep them afloat.
At a full meeting of Mansfield District Council held in January, it was agreed that £45,000 would be set aside to help fund the Nottingham Credit Union’s (NCU) Mansfield branch and the town’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) as part of the authority’s 2013-14 budget.
Members agreed that the cash would be deducted from the £91,094 allocated to cabinet members for expenses for the same financial period.
The money was set aside as part of a council bid to support ethical lenders in Mansfield, and fight the booming growth in legal loan sharks.
But politicians have accused Mr Egginton of trying to scupper the deal by delaying the payment and have now created the petition to force a debate at full council.
Labour member Sonya Ward said the branch was under threat and accused the mayor of stalling the payment.
She said: “The majority of people in Mansfield using high street loan sharks are on low wages. These companies profit from their poverty.
“If Mr Egginton stalls this payment any longer and the credit union closes, he is leaving the way totally clear for these companies to abuse people’s misfortune in Mansfield.
“He doesn’t want to do this because it wasn’t his idea. He needs to question his conscience.”
The decision to pay £45,000 to NCU and CAB was made unanimously by all elected members of Mansfield District Council in January.
In June NCU were told they would need to apply for the cash through grant funding from the council, and the £45,000 was diverted back into the cabinet expenses budget.
The move caused outrage amongs councillors and community activists and Mr Egginton was asked to appear before the authority’s select committee where he again refused to give any comminment to the NCU.
He told the select committee he would announce a formal decision at the next full council, but this failed to happen.
Mr Egginton did not respond to the Chad’s calls to his office requesting comment.
To sign the petition, go to http://petitions.mansfield.gov.uk/NCU-CAB.
Pictured is the CVS building, in Wood Street, where the credit union is based.