Monday, 7 February 2011

Barnet Council Latest : Lynne Hillan admits Tories have bankrupted Barnet Council

We've published a letter from the Leader of Barnet Council, Lynne Hillan to Eric Pickles, the Local Authorities minister on the Future Shape website. This in effect states that Barnet Council is insolvent. Hillan states :-
We have received only £9.5m of capital grant for school places investment against our requirement of £51 million over the next three years. We have no option but to provide additional school places for our growing population and urgently need additional government support to enable us to meet our statuatory requirements
Lynne Hillan could not be anymore specific if she tried. The council has not got enough money to meet its legal requirements. There is a word for this "Insolvent". That is why Hillan has the begging bowl out. It is time for the Barnet Tories to come clean with the taxpayer and tell us the truth. We need an honest externally audited assessment of the mess. We need an action plan to resolve it, with a fresh team that has some level of financial competence. I have been told that Deputy Leader Andrew Harper and Barnet Party Boss Councillor John Marshall had a crisis meeting to discuss the contents of Hillans letter. I am told that they were unable to draw any positive conclusions from what was discussed. They must now tell us the truth.

How did we get here? Later in the letter she talks about the money lost in Iceland.

Let us quickly recap on a few Barnet Conservative financial atrocities, which have brought about this situation :-

£27.4 million lost in dodgy Icelandic Bank Investments (+ another £3 million in lost interest)
£11 million overspend on the badly managed Aerodrome Road Bridge project
£8 million (and rising) overspend on Catalyst outsourcing project

When the Tories took over the Council from Labour in 2002, borrowing was £38 million (and derided by the Tories as "a scandal"). It is now approaching £250 million according to the latest accounts. How have the Tories tried to cut this?

They have spent millions on consultants working on the future shape project, which has delivered no savings at all.

They have replaced thousands of perfectly good lamposts in the borough at huge cost.

Employed contractors to senior posts within the council (eg Deputy CEO) on salaries circa £15,000 a month.

They have spent tens of thousands of pounds on staff jollies, such as trips to Sandbanks hotel for awayday conferences.

They bought plasma screen tellies for senior staff (and installed a satellite TV receiver)

They spent £1.4 million on redundant Laptop computers, then put hundreds of them into storage (having taken out warranties).

Knowing that there was a huge deficit, they froze council tax last year, purely as an election bribe.

They hiked wages for senior council executives - the CEO salary has risen from £114,000 a year to £200,000 a YEAR (Excluding pensions & perks)

They rasied allowances for chairmen of committees (personally appointed by Lynne Hillan) by 57%

You can read the whole letter here -

The bottom line is that in eight years, the Barnet Conservatives have destroyed the council finances and now have to go cap in hand to Pickles for a baleout.


APML said...

That is why they will soon be robbing Peter to pay Paul to make up for the short fall.
Hillan why the hell dont you just get out, and take the rest of your incompetents with you,you are not popular in the borough,and not popular in the council as the leadership challenge indicated by you just sraping through..

APML said...

where is our Mr Shooter when we need him.If you do get this message sir,go for another challenge you might just get it this time,whilst Mr Murray-Leonard on the other hand is giving Manuel Offord a kicking of his life..

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Lynne Hillan is the right person for the job. After all, she is an expert on insolvency

APML said...

Just look at the so called cabinet at Barnet council it,s like a comedy of errors,and the majority of the back bench councillors have a hell of a lot to be desired as well.I wonder if they were not getting their allowances,how many would be doing the job? not many!!.

Anonymous said...

You mention John Marshall and Andrew Harper. As Deputy and Whip they are propping her up in power.

Should they withdraw their support, she would be toast.

They look so weak as they sit passively as Coleman insults their constituents in public.

And every day goes by of Hillan's continued leadership, their credibility seeps away. Soon they will be seen as so complicit in this regime they will have the electoral appeal of Mubarak's son.

If they had any wisdom they would extricate themselves quickly, before it is too late.

Jaybird said...

This link suggests why Barnet thought investing in Iceland was such a good idea

Jaybird said...

Or maybe it was just them