This is in response to the Labour party and the problem they have with the Union flag in Warrington There is not just the issue with the flag but there needs to be further investigations in to the Labour Led Warrington Borough Council and the mismanagement of the local taxpayers’ monies.
We have been saddled with a debt of some £1.6 billion pounds and this will rise to £2.3 billion within the next couple of years and this will mean that each and every person in the area will be responsible for thousands of pounds of debt and this is leading to cuts in services especially to the most vulnerable in society, and yet this council still carry on with their poor investments. We are on the verge of being made bankrupt by the constant mismanagement and nobody is being held to account for this.
This council has repeatedly invested in very poor schemes for instance the council has invested upwards of 75% of our funds into the Redwood Bank and gained only 33% of the bank as collateral this means we have lost over 40% of the original investment so where has it gone? The men who started the bank have actually resigned from the bank and when this original investment was made the Bank did not have any financial authority to actually act as a bank so why was this invested in? The delay in Warrington Borough Council’s accounts from 2017/18 was caused by a member of the public challenging the council’s £30m investment into Redwood Bank. This is from 2021…some 4 years after the purchase.
The Labour Led Council bought into redwood bank and so far they have paid about 35m in purchase and interest repayments … for a 30% share. Last year the bank valued itself (it is not a listed stock company) at 26m pounds. Even after a year of Covid let us Be generous and say its value DOUBLED to £52 million, we own 30% @ £15 million so the investment is showing NO RETURN and has an annual cost of £1.3 million interest REPAYMENT. It is now in the hole to the tune of £35million minus the £15 million which gives us a BOOK VALUE CURRENT LOSS of at least £20 million. No wonder the auditors refuse to sign the accounts off.
One of the Council Members has ended up as a Director of this and we have no information regarding any remuneration package that they could be receiving. The Head of the Council earns more than the Prime Minister and it is scandalous as do more members of the Warrington Council, and yet he is on the board of so many Directorships.
There has been the investment into an energy company that has repeatedly come bottom in the customer satisfaction report. Together energy is a company in Scotland and is regarded as one of the worst energy companies, but this did not stop this Council investing in it and again a member of the council has taken up a Directorship and we cannot find out any information regarding whether this is a paid post, and we are constantly kept in the dark regarding any other investments and gains for council members in the form of Directorships. There is also an investment of a solar company in Gloucester, and there has been continued concern about the state of the investments.
What are the problems with Together Energy UK?
When it comes to customer care, Together Energy UK reviews show the supplier falls short in a number of areas, including not sending final bills, taking a long time to resolve complaints and, most worryingly, owing customers money.
This Email was sent to all sitting councillors at Warrington Borough Council from a member of the public……
Together Energy (TE) is 50% owned by Warrington Borough Council. These are questions put by Richard Grover head of Together Energy’s Customer Support Group. TE has an appalling record in dealing with its customers. As Councillors YOU are responsible for this. As Councillors YOU appointed WBC Chief Executive to the Board of TE you are responsible for his actions
You state that More than 90% of our staff come from the poorest 10% of postcodes in Scotland. Together Energy stated that they would boost employment in Warrington. How people do Together energy currently employ in Warrington and how many do they plan to employ in the future.
By what date do WBC expect to fully recoup their investment in Together Energy and start to deliver profits to benefit the people of Warrington.
For two years Together Energy have been 35 out of 35 in the Which table for energy suppliers and yet there is no sign of any improvement. This is an embarrassment for Warrington residents. What do the management of Together Energy intend to do or are they not concerned?
Due to Together Energy’s appalling ratings and image, new customers are having to be unwittingly signed up by both energy switching companies and cold calling salesmen. The only carrot that Together Energy has to truly tempt new customers is low fuel prices. No customers join because of quality. This business model is worrying. Do the Directors of Together energy accept that this puts the company at risk?
All Energy companies have a public profile through social media and respond and react to customers questions and complaints. Why do Together Energy hide from their customers and refuse to have an open, honest, and public profile?
Paul Richards the joint owner of Together Energy has twice made public apologies via the Together Energy website for the poor service that the company has provided. Since those apologies service level has continued to fall. Will there be another public apology?
Why when the WBC leadership have failed to turn Together Energy around into a popular company, did they invest more money into Bristol Energy whose ratings are now rapidly falling in the same manner as Together Energy?
Together energy has one of the worst public review scores in the industry however the only 5-star reviews are obtained by helpdesk staff who gain them by asking for credit from desperate customers who have been helped out of predicaments. Why do the Together Energy Management have to support these desperate tactics?
The energy market has been recently described as fragile, wholesale energy prices are rising and small suppliers, particularly council owned suppliers are continuing to fail. Are WBC confident that having the poorest public profile in the industry will not affect the viability of the company.
What timescale do WBC and Together Energy have to improve the company’s ratings?
It is almost impossible to find out if the Council members who have taken seats as Directors are paid as the council is not forthcoming with the information and those who repeatedly ask or contact a senior member are at risk of being arrested, and one person in Warrington was actually visited in his own home by the police and threatened with arrest if he contacted the senior member again. He contacted the particular person on two occasions on his mobile for information and all of this is available on Facebook to view.
Requests for information are ignored and yet the monies invested are not coming back with any profit. We gained £35 million pounds from our £1.6 billion investment but had to pay tax on this and it ended up that every man, woman, and child gained 1p from their forced investments, and in some areas we actually OWED. There is no information as to why this money is not being invested in Warrington, and instead being invested anywhere else and with some member of the council ends up with a Directorship from some of the investments.
The council tried to politicise the recent flooding in the affected areas and deliberately tried to mislead the public over their responsibility to the taxpayers, and this has resulted in the poorest in our area being forced to either rely on charity or have to go without. The Environment Agency had informed the Council 7 days before that the area in Dallam and Bewsey could be flooded, and they did nothing. There has been no dredging done and no clearance of the drains. I have tried to correct the facts through a Facebook post but not enough is being done and the council is determined to commit the local taxpayer’s money even further and without any regard for the consequences.
Yet, despite all the cuts, most of the councillors are taking home what is the equivalent of a full-time wage for some in this town and these costs are rising. We are also looking at a council tax rise of some 4.98% and it is scandalous that in a time of a national pandemic that this council is spending money on magic bean investments.
We are a borough with a rotten rotten council and people are getting extremely fed up with the mismanagement by the council and its lack of transparency.
Some issues we are dealing with.
some £1.6Bn of debt taken on by the Council.
– Labour has been unable to secure statutory sign off by external auditors of the Council’s accounts for the last 3 years (2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20).
-At the full Council meeting on 7 December 2020, Labour sought to say ongoing delays in sign off of the 2017/18 accounts were now due to “Covid pressures, long term illness and staff shortages” at the external auditors Grant Thornton. FACT: Grant Thornton’s website states that Grant Thornton has 190 Partners and over 4500 people in the UK.
-Three months later, the situation is no better. In fact, it may have gotten worse. The Grant Thornton representative at the Council’s Audit and Corporate Governance Committee meeting on 17 March 2021 reported that there are “a number of key areas we are still working on…..” in relation to the audit of the 2017/18 accounts.
-At the same Council Audit Committee on 17 March, the Council reported on waivers in 2020 to normal Council contract procurement regulations which would normally require tendering to ensure fairness and value for money. Beyond a number of justifiable waivers, it was interesting to note that the council had concluded a £180,000 contract by Direct Award (i.e., no tendering) to Link Asset Services “to provide Treasury Management Advice to the Council as part of the investment programme”. The justification given was “Urgency-Response to urgent need”. So, Labour’s debt accumulation and investments led to £180,000 of Council Tax expenditure with a single supplier without a procurement competition process. (Who are Link Asset Services and why the urgency?)
-Finally, and at the same Audit Committee, there were a further £190,000 of Council contract waivers reported in 2020 for work with various suppliers which appear to be directly related to Labour’s debt and investments. “Urgency-response to urgent need” was again usually given as the reason for the waivers. This report and the repeated urgency do not in any way build confidence around financial management of the Council’s debt and investments.
Further issues that need looking into is the collaboration between the WBC and Wire Regeneration (also known as Langree)
Langtree is a Warrington based developer and it set up Wire regeneration in partnership with Warrington Borough Council on a 50-50 shareholding basis. Wire regeneration has always had two members of the Council. On the board and the chief executive officer Steve Broomhead MBE.
The shares for wire regeneration were part of an exchange deal for land owned by the council including the old rugby stadium on Wilderspool Causeway but information on this is very hard to come by so will be useful if councillors could clarify this, because my information may be wrong.
- Can we have a complete and open breakdown of the relationship between the developer Langtree wire regeneration and Warrington and co?
- Our chief executive officer is paid £140,000 a year plus yet he seems to do a large number of other jobs including being on the board of Together Energy and on the board of Wire regeneration and many other organisations does he get paid for this role at Wire regeneration in addition to his very high salary?
- Does the Council Leader and Deputy Leader get paid for being directors of Wire Regeneration? Is anyone else in the council or their family connected to Wire Regeneration or Langtree?
- Is the old stadium site now owned by the council wire regeneration or Langtree and has money been exchanged if so does that appear in the council’s accounts?
- Can the public see a full set of accounts showing what value was put on the land as part of the share deal? what valuation was put on the land before it went into the deal?
- if ownership of this land has been transferred to a private company either Langtree or Wire regeneration would this be classed as a “privatisation” of public property?
- Langtree is hoping to build a huge development “656” in the greenbelt in Warrington it needs planning permission from the council. However, it is in business with the council because of its partnership in Wire Regeneration. Not only that but the Council Leader and the Council Deputy Leader or the Council Chief Executive who have a major role in the planning system in Warrington are Directors of a company that is 50% owned by Langtree. Do the councillors think it is appropriate that these three people should be involved in the planning process for a company they have a relationship with?
- The 656 development is very large and should have been put into the local plan as a “strategic” development that has been left out of the local plan. Could councillors assure us that this is not the result of the special relationship with because of its shared ownership of wire regeneration with Langtree?
- The council refuses to answer questions about Langtree and Wire Regeneration because of “commercial confidentiality” so do you think it is right that when a council asset moves from public ownership to private ownership they should waive this protection and let people make their own minds up because it is their property at the end of the day?
- Many of the problems that people find with the council and its so-called investments come from the fact they are not open for public view. Would The council agree to open up a lay Committee so members of the public can examine the council finances and restore public confidence?
The gentleman who had written these questions directly to the Head of the Council was informed not to contact him again. No accountability.
Why is the Warrington Council using offshore accounts? “Labour-run Warrington Council has still not decided whether to bring an out-of-town business park onshore more than three years after being accused of avoiding tax, The MJ can reveal.
The council snapped up Birchwood Park in September 2017 and still holds it in an offshore company.”.
the MJ 2/2/21
We currently have an eyesore in the town that was supposed to be a block of flats next to Central train station and this was in cahoots with the Liverpool Council, but this work had to come to a stop because of money running out yet no further information is forthcoming, and it is standing empty and needs completing. This is another Labour Led Council investment in a joint enterprise with Liverpool and where some of those council members are now under a police investigation. How much has this cost us so far? It is yet another example of the Warrington Labour Led Council refusing to explain to the taxpayers where, when and what will happen with our forced taxes.
So far, for my local taxes I have one bin emptied once a week. We do not see any other services and even the need for the police has been reduced to contacting them online. In the avenue where I live there has been a booklet put through the door that there were 9 offences committed last year, yet nobody has seen a police officer or even realised that there were nine offences committed. I cannot remember the last time I have actually seen a police officer in the area.
I live in the area that was flooded, and thankfully I did not have to go through the upset of being flooded out, but the avenue in front of me and my daughter did, and they have just been left to it and again. The council did not offer sandbags until after the flooding to most of the areas, and there was a case of a lorry with all the sandbags on it just being dumped in a street so that people would get it for themselves. They did not consider that the majority of people in this area have young families and could not have gotten to the truck, or any help for the disabled who could not carry the items anyway. The local councillors did not visit the area but were rather keeping themselves available on the Facebook site, whereas the Warrington South MP was here as soon as possible.
We see nothing for our money and this council is too busy investing in failed schemes, whilst neglecting the poorest in the area and leaving them to fend for themselves. At the back of the new hub and right in the flooded areas there are now plans to build 60 retirement places for the over 60s and this is in the same area that was flooded. This is a disaster waiting to happen as what will happen when they are flooded out and they will be. The occupants of this new area will be the elderly and could be the infirm too.
The Warrington South MP Andy Carter asked the Communities Minister Robert Jenrick to look into the mismanagement of this town’s council taxes in Parliament, and todate we are still waiting and time is running out, and Warrington cannot afford the current rotten council that is sitting today, and only by exposing their dealings can we have a chance to stop their mismanagement, otherwise the poorest in our town will continue to suffer, and this town is on the verge of bankruptcy and at the hands of its own council.
That is why I can say that Warrington has a rotten rotten irresponsible council.