A ROW has broken out over the financial situation at Redditch Borough council.
Last year the council was issued with a Section 24 notice for failure to deliver its 20/21 accounts following a range of issues including staff vacancies, technical problems with the finance system and challenges following the pandemic.
The council claimed this week, after meeting five of the six key recommendations discussed by external auditors, it was in a strong financial position, but because the accounts for submission were still outstanding, the Section 24 remained.
Redditch Borough Council’s portfolio-holder for finance Coun Luke Court said: “I am proud of the progress we have made over the last year.
“I am also delighted the auditors have highlighted our strong financial position going forward and that they have not issued any new statutory recommendations.
“We know that challenges still remain and we know there is more work to do, including the completion of the outstanding accounts.
“We accept the auditor’s cautionary action to not remove the current Section 24 due to our remaining outstanding accounts.
“However we note the challenges facing the wider local government audit sector and the impact this is having on all local authority accounts.”
Redditch Labour leader Coun Joe Baker said he believed the council claiming it was in a strong financial position was leading the public into a false sense of security.
“The council’s idea that they are getting more money from leasing the out the town hall is ridiculous.
“They’ve had to borrow £1million to demolish Redditch Library.
“The Labour Group has no confidence that the Conservatives can balance the budget.”
Redditch Borough Council leader, Coun Matt Dormer, said: “By leasing out the Town Hall to partners, not only are we saving and collecting money, but we are creating a Community Hub which makes public services more accessible to our residents.
“We will continue to be innovative not least with our plans to Regenerate Redditch, attracting further investment and creating a town for visitors and residents to be proud of.”
Visit redditchbc.gov.uk/vfm to view a copy of the full report.