Bristol news The road to the truth about why Bristol Energy failed PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Council taxpayers want to know how much public money was lost and who is to blame
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Six years ago, Bristol city chiefs were pinning their hopes on a brand new council-owned energy firm to lift residents out of fuel poverty and, eventually, turn a profit for the local authority. Fast forward to today, and Bristol Energy has accumulated debt of nearly £50million and been broken up and sold. Needless to say, the city’s taxpayers want to know exactly how much of their money was lost in the ill-fated venture and who is to blame. What we do know is that Bristol Energy was set up in 2015 by the council’s previous cross-party cabinet under then mayor George Ferguson, and that millions more has been poured in during the intervening five years by the current Labour administration headed by mayor Marvin Rees. We also know that the original business plan committed Bristol City Council to spend around £16million, and that the current administration raised the spending cap to £37.7million, and set aside an extra £7.3million in risk reserves, in April 2019. What we don’t know, exactly, is how much has been spent and forever lost to the public purse. Get the biggest stories from across Bristol straight to your inbox. Last year, as the council announced it was selling Bristol Energy for £15.3million, deputy mayor Craig Cheney said the council had ploughed “£36.5million or so” into the company altogether. But Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Kent, who has become enraged by the administration’s refusal to “come clean” on the exact amount spent, said he expects the final sum will be more like £50million.
News source = PremierLeague-News.Com
. But it’s not just opposition councillors who are hoping for vindication.
The council, led by Labour mayor Marvin Rees, has requested a 'public interest report' into Bristol Energy (Image: Copyright Unknown) Announcing last month that the council had asked its external auditor to undertake a “public interest report” into the company, Bristol’s Labour mayor warned that such a report would investigate from the “very beginnings of this journey” and include “how did we end up inheriting the mess?” So when will we get this report that will, hopefully, shed light on what was behind the failure of Bristol Energy? Unfortunately, at this stage, there is no guarantee one will even be produced. The undertaking of Public Interest Reports is governed by the Local Audit and Accountability Act. In accordance with this act, the external auditor - in this case Jon Roberts from Grant Thornton - must follow a process to determine whether to carry out the work to produce a report. “The decision on whether or not to produce a report in the public interest is that of the auditor alone,” Mr Roberts told the Local Democracy Reporting Service yesterday (January 13). He said he has not yet begun the research to determine whether to undertake the report as he was completing an audit of the council’s 2019/20 accounts. Asked what factors he would take into account in his decision, he cited the National Audit Office’s Code of Audit Practice, pursuant to the act, which says: “The auditor should consider whether, in the public interest, they should report on any matter that comes to their notice so that it is brought to the attention of the audited body and the public.” The code says the auditor should take into account the relevant requirements of the act and other factors such as the significance of the matter, whether there is wider public interest in the issues raised, and the costs of dealing with the matter, “bearing in mind that these are borne by the taxpayer”. Mr Roberts said: “The decision on whether or not to report in this manner is therefore at my discretion, taking the above into consideration. “I will be guided by my experience as a local authority external auditor and my knowledge of those matters that have and have not met the threshold for public interest reporting elsewhere. “I will also consult with appropriate colleagues and may take independent legal advice on the matter, if I consider necessary.”
Source = PremierLeague-News.Com