Latest on Council Finances

November 29, 2021 5:00 PM
By Cllr Ian Marks - Finance spokesperson in warrington-worldwide.co.uk

Gate at Warrington Council BldgAfter years of delay and endless broken promises, it appears the 2017/18 Council Accounts are now close to being signed off by the External Auditor, Grant Thornton.

wp-content/uploads/imarks.jpgThere must be some confidence by both the Council and the Auditors this will happen, because we have a specially organised extra meeting of the Audit & Corporate Governance Committee on 9 December to discuss this topic.

The good news is that there appears to have been a compromise on the major outstanding point of disagreement between the Council and the Auditors. This means the Auditors will no longer be issuing a 'statutory recommendation' which is a way of showing their disapproval over the way Warrington has accounted for some of its investments. The bad news is that there are still several minor areas of disagreement which need to be resolved in the next week.

I am pleased that two independent directors have now been appointed to the board of Together Energy. Their task is to look after the Council's financial interest in the energy company which is vital in the current turbulent climate of energy supply. I have been pressing for this for some time.

Right now, the Council should be devoting its efforts to working with Together Energy to ensure it doesn't go bust like many other energy companies including the country's seventh largest company Bulb. Anything the Council can do to help raise money from alternative sources to safeguard viability and stability would be welcome.

Liberal Democrats have always opposed this investment, but constant criticism about the investment by others is not helpful to anyone. However, the company's delay in paying its Renewable Obligations beyond the required date, and the spin making out a profit had been made rather than a loss, does not inspire confidence amongst the public.

These comments first appeared online here.