Statement on New Bailey development

August 12, 2020 5:37 PM
By Cllr Bob Barr in Warrington Guardian

Bob from MailerWarrington's programme of funding Council services increasingly out of the revenue obtained from property and commercial investments is audacious and necessary, but not reckless. Officers are skilled in risk management and buy-in professional advice as part of due diligence.

However, these risks should not be necessary. Councils should have been allowed to fund their services through local taxes. Instead government has given local authorities access to cheap loans to fund their speculative investment programmes.

While investing in property involves commercial confidentiality, the underlying principles should have been agreed, and discussed in confidence, by the whole Council. Instead the programme is carried out with key confidential documents being withheld from most councillors because members of the Labour Group cannot be trusted not to leak them.

Taking risks on behalf of the people of Warrington is now an unfortunate, but necessary, fact of life to support services. Doing so in secret, by a Council where decisions are made only by the Leader, Deputy and Cabinet, should not be.

Councillor Bob Barr is the Liberal Democrat group leader on Warrington Borough Council. This statement first appeared here.