Labour Councillor: Lib Dems’ titanic waste of Maghull Council T

Steve Kermode



Maghull Town Council's Audit and Governance committee formally accepted as a true record the facts contained in a damning independent Sefton Council audit report into the £1/2million building programme at Maghull Town Hall.

The Audit and Governance Committee rubber stamped the findings of the report and have now referred it the full council meeting at 7.30pm on Wednesday (April 11).

Since taking control of Maghull Town Council in May last year, the Labour Group immediately conducted a detailed review into the council's expenditure and found that the Liberal Democrats had saddled Maghull's council tax payers with a debt of £500,000.

The Labour Group called in Sefton MBC audit department to conduct an independent review into the formal tendering and commissioning process behind the roof project and the function suite refurbishment.

The report found substantial and systematic failures in procurement practice and lack of transparency in the process.

Auditors also found no evidence had been unearthed to show that the construction of the roof needed to have taken place at all.

They also found that there was no evidence to show that simple repairs to the roof rather than a new roof would have sufficed.

In addition to significant failures in the process, that should have been overseen by councillors, there were also fundamental breaches of financial regulations and standing orders by the town council itself throughout the period before Labour took control.

And there had been a lack of evidence to demonstrate value for money.

It has also been discovered that the formal loan contract was signed by the Lib Dems on the day before last May's local election. Just 24 hours before they lost control of the council.

While slamming the Lib Dems for wasting £500,000 of Maghull Tax Payers' money, Maghull Town Council Labour Councillor Steve Kermode said the full council meeting will be an ideal opportunity for the Liberal Democrat councillors who were responsible to explain how and why they made the decision to saddle us all with an extra huge debt.

Cllr Kermode said: "The Liberal Democrats on the council who were responsible for deciding to go with this major building project need to explain how they made the decision to go from a £13,000 repair to a £500,000 25 year debt.

"They cannot shy away from these questions like they did at last week's Audit and Governance Committee when not one Lib Dem attended.

"Questions need to be answered and I am sure that members of the public who are paying for this very expensive Lib Dem decision will want to hear what the Liberal Democrats have to say."

Cllr Kermode, who runs his own building firm, said the Lib Dems had steered through a "titanic waste of Maghull money".

Cllr Kermode said: "We were told early on that the rebuild of the roof was to make the Town Hall more environmentally friendly. But if that was the case, why was the roof installed without insulation?

"As a qualified builder, I understand the importance of putting insulation in a roof. But you don’t need to be a qualified builder to know about the importance of insulation or to spot a titanic waste of money. 

 

"Most people know from their own experience and from countless adverts over the years about the importance of insulation. This job wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds and yet still the job wasn’t done properly. 

 

"Many people have told me they want answers from the Lib Dems who made the decisions about the roof. They also want someone to take responsibility for the massive mistakes made on behalf of the town council before last May’s elections. People are furious about the town hall roof project and they have a right to know what happened and why. 

 

"I am determined to make sure that we are given the answers the public want and the appropriate action is taken against those responsible.

“I am calling on Lib Dem Councillors Robertson and Blackburn to attend next week’s council meeting, to tell the public why they got things so disastrously wrong at the town hall and to tell us what they intend to do to make up for their mistakes.”

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