REDDITCH Borough Council’s finances have come under fire from the town’s Labour Group, after a major warning notice was extended.
External auditors have re-issued a Section 24 notice it handed to the council last year for failing to produce accounts for the financial year 2020/21.
This means the council has been unable to produce accounts for 2021/22 and 2022/23 and, as a result, the last three years of accounts have not been signed off.
At an extraordinary meeting of the full council on December 6, councillors voted to accept the auditor’s report.
Coun Ian Woodall, who chairs the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee, said: “We still do not have accounts signed off for the last three years and to make this worse we have missed our savings targets and we are having to dip into our reserves and borrow money to fund capital projects.”
Coun Joe Baker, leader of the Redditch Labour Group, added: “We are deeply concerned the council faces selling off more precious community assets.
“I urge the controlling Conservative Group to take this situation seriously and ensure all large-scale projects have been properly costed out at today’s prices.”
Pete Carpenter, interim director of finance, has said the council has the draft accounts ready to be released.
“We have come a long way from when the conservatives were first elected.
“We’re stuck in a backlog and can’t release the accounts until the auditor has signed off on them.
“I want to get us out of this position but we can’t rush and cause other problems.”
Leader of the council, Coun Matt Dormer added: “We have never said we were selling off community assets.
“The Community House building is being sold because it would cost too much to repair it to the standard required and we’re re-housing every organisation that operates in the building.
“This is just scaremongering – for five years I have had to tighten out belts because of the mess Labour left us in.
“Redditch is in a really good position and we’re delivering on a lot of projects next year.”