An infuriated Conservative councillor is branding the Lib Dems ‘a joke’ over Stockport Council’s £4.7million deficit fiasco after MM revealed how the debt accumulated.
Syd Lloyd, Councillor for Bredbury Green and Romiley, has riled against the incompetent accounting that has lumbered the council tax payers of Stockport with a bill of £4.7million.
While the council is claiming that SSK could, with structural changes, claw back the deficit, MM understands that council chiefs have already put aside £5million for a bail-out which will hit the taxpayer’s pocket, and Councillor Lloyd cannot believe the Liberal Democrats let this happen.
He told MM: “The investigation now taking place has shown that financial and administrative controls were virtually non-existent in the company from the very start and one of the teams investigating the mess recently described the accounting arrangements they found in SSK to be ‘bonkers’.
“Governance arrangements at SSK were a joke. The Audit Committee chaired by a Liberal Democrat Councillor did not meet the requisite number of times and its minutes which we as elected Councillors have not been able to obtain, despite requesting them were described by the team investigating as ‘sparse’.”
Councillor Lloyd has known about the unravelling problems since the council-owned company was set up by the Liberal Democrats in 2006, but claims the party blocked any opposition intervention.
He said: “The Liberal Democrats who flatly refused to let opposition councillors have any part in the running of the company.
“We were subsequently denied access to any financial information when we asked for it, on the spurious grounds of ‘Commercial Confidentiality’, even though we were raising specific issues about what we believed were non profitable activities being undertaken by the company.”
The investigation into SSK should be completed by the end of the month, and Councillor Lloyd believes that heads are sure to roll.
He said: “This has much further to go. Once the investigation is completed we will need to hold to account those who have failed the people of Stockport. At the head of the queue are the Liberal Democrats who ran and controlled the governance of this company.
“Their weasel excuses simply do not hold water. They were incompetent custodians of their responsibilities.”