AS many feared and predicted Warrington Borough Council’s controversial investment in Together Energy backed fired as the energy supplier ceased trading.
Despite millions of pounds of investment for a 50 percent stake in the green energy company, unprecedented times saw the company become one in a long list of failed energy suppliers over the past two years.
With the council also having to “write down” approximately 50% of its current £32m investment in Redwood Bank, it is certainly worrying times at Warrington Town Hall, with lots of questions to be answered when the dust settles.
Add to this the council accounts still not being signed off from 2017/18, despite numerous statements suggesting they were about to be signed off, even as recently as December, it is difficult for even the most optimistic person to find much to be positive about regarding the council’s current finances and investments.
We keep hearing that the majority of the investments, in particular Birchwood Park, are sound and generating circa £20m a year, without which the council would be forced to cut front-line services.
But with a current liability of £1.6 Billion, which is expected to rise above £2 Billion in the coming 12 months, against a revenue budget of £140m alarm bells are ringing, particularly with inflation rising to over 5 percent and fuel costs set to spiral in the coming months. I don’t pretend to be a maths genius but even to me, “investing” circa £40m in a company that ceases trading, to make £20m doesn’t add up!
While all investments have a risk, surely it is now time for the politicians who run our town, to go back to the drawing board and review their investment strategy, which they blame on 10 years of Government austerity, which has seen the council lose 60p in the £1 from central Government.
Nearly all businesses and local authorities have had to adapt and change and cut their cloth accordingly during the past two years or more – maybe it is time for those running the town hall to do the same and abandon this risky investment strategy?
I haven’t got the answers, but I’m not on a payscale to provide them.
Meanwhile, on a positive note Warrington Smart scrimpers based at St Ann’s Church in Orford, have become our latest Legacy Project to receive a donation of £500.
The Scrimpers has been running for several years.
They are a group of people who get together over common interests who believe they can save a fortune by applying and sharing their skills, hobbies, or know-how, realising that the cost of living could be lower if they pooled resources.
The main objectives of the group are to Repurpose, upcycle, reuse, and budget meal planning. Using traditional values of making something from nothing and doing all things to save money on a tight budget!
Maybe the Smart Scrimpers could teach the powers that be at Warrington Town Hall a thing or two!