When Central and Local Government are not acting in the interest of citizens, we must call them to account and demand change. Debt Resistance UK is building a campaign to facilitate citizen-led Local Authority Debt Audits, to provide information and tools for those who want to challenge Local Government Financial decision, and to help other campaign and grassroots groups in legitimising their own struggles (anti-cuts, divestment, etc).
LOBO loan contracts are not currently publicly available. This is unacceptable and must be challenged. In cases of public borrowing where the costs are substantial, yet the public benefit is unclear, or contract terms are stacked unfairly in favour of private sector providers, we must demand that the contracts be legally contested, renegotiated or annulled.
To support local action, Debt Resistance UK is building a campaign to facilitate citizen-led Local Authority debt audits. We intend to provide information, tools and training for citizens so that they are equipped to read accounts, request contracts and challenge parts of the Council accounts.
The project is inspired by similar work undertaken by the Plataforma Auditoria Ciudadana de la Deuda (PACD) in recent years in Spain. PACD has developed a software and campaign strategy for citizen led-audits. The software is designed to presents budget information in a clear and understandable way, and is used as an online hub for enquiries related to the individual terms of the budget. The PACD platform makes information about Local Government finance accessible and transparent, while providing tools that can be used to hold Local Government accountable. We plan to adapt this software for the UK.
The Spanish groups campaign strategy promotes autonomous local initiatives by providing citizens with the basic tools for their campaign, like predesigned adaptable graphics, suggested organising practices and trainings on how Local Government finance works, on how to make inquires and how to use the provided software.
By assisting citizen led debt audits, we hope to build up information and tools for those who want to challenge Local Government on decisions proven not to have been made in the interest of citizens, while helping other campaign and grassroots groups in legitimising their own struggles (anti-cuts, divestment, etc). In the long term we hope to encourage Local Government to develop platforms that allow citizens to actively engage in the decision making of their council through participatory forms of decision making and budgeting.
Debt Resistance UK (DRUK) aims to start a Local Authority Debt Audit Campaign across the UK in 2016.
We welcome people to get involved in building the national campaign and we would like to support citizens to set up their own local action group.