LAMBETH COUNCIL INVESTED £100 MILLION IN BUILDING SOCIETIES LAST YEAR – Claims of no money for libraries or housing repairs in tatters
LAMBETH COUNCIL’S CLAIMS THEY DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY FOR LIBRARIES BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT CUTBACKS AND THAT THEY NEED TO DEMOLISH SIX COUNCIL ESTATES – INCLUDING CENTRAL HILL – BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY FOR REPAIRS LIE IN TATTERS TODAY.
Lambeth council’s accounts show that in the financial year ended March 31st 2016 they INVESTED almost £100 MILLION in building societies – and spent £20 million LESS on works to council dwellings.
News From Crystal Palace found the figures in Lambeth’s accounts via a statement from the People’s Audit.
The newly-formed People’s Audit own shock report found the number of managers earning £50,000 to – £150,000 has increased by 88 at a cost of over £5.5 million.
And that was AFTER Lambeth made 744 people redundant last year. (The cost of that – £10.3M will come out of this year’s budget.)
Some senior managers will get £80K+ redundancy packages. Lambeth then more than doubled their cost of recruitment advertising to £675K.
News From Crystal Palace’s own look at the accounts also found that Lambeth appear to be WIPING OFF £6 million in rent arrears.
And there could be far, far more to come. One area not yet covered is the increasing use by Lambeth of consultants – and what they are paying them.
The new – and currently almost unknown – Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 allows members of the public to inspect the detailed accounts of a local authority.
A press release from People’s Audit says: “Although opening their books is a legal duty on the council, Lambeth appear to be completely unprepared for the audit.
“The council published a notice on their website on the 30th June saying that their accounts would be open from the following day.
“But when we have asked to see them they say they will take weeks to collect the information together. “We continue to press to see the accounts and expect to have sight in early August.”
The People’s Audit say: “We came together after growing concern about how Lambeth council was managing public resources after a string of controversial spending decisions by the council.
“These included the ongoing scandal over the closure of Lambeth libraries, where it was revealed that Lambeth have handed over the running of some of its libraries to GLL without a business plan in place.
“Other issues have included the threats to demolish council owned housing estates without proper consultation by the council” say the team, made up of a number of experienced local campaigners and financial professionals.
Gerlinde Gniewosz, a local campaigner and financial analyst said: “There is a real feeling amongst many that government cuts are being used as cover for a series of incompetent spending decisions.
“At a time that local government budgets are being slashed it is more important than ever that councils spend our money wisely.
“There has been increasing concern that Lambeth has not been getting the best value for the public.”
The People’s Audit will run until the 11th of August. They will be publishing their findings on a website http://www.thepeoplesaudit.info/ You can also follow the People’s Audit on Twitter @peoplesaudit
NOTES ON THE ACCOUNTS:
Details of the above can be found under the relevant numbers / pages at: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/annual-accounts which comes up on Google as financial information. Then go to 3: Statement of accounts; then scroll down to 2015-2016 statement of accounts (draft)
Deposits with banks and financial institutions 31 March 2016. Investments with Banks £73,462,000 (up from £65,588,000 the previous year) Investments with Building Societies £110,000,000 (Up from £12,000,000 the previous year). (Item 15g p 46)
Rent arrears as at 31st March 2016: £12,969,000 (compared to £11,543,000 for year ended March 31st 20-15) but says the collectable amount is only £5,229,000. (Item 42, page 65).
Redundancy packages / recruitment advertising (Pages 38 and 39 of accounts).
In their accounts Lambeth council still appear to be blaming the Government:
Vacant Possession Value The vacant possession value of dwellings within the housing revenue account at 31st March 2016 was £8.850 billion which has been reduced to £2.212 billion to reflect social housing use subsidised housing. “This shows the economic cost to the government of providing council housing at less than market rents.” (item 43, page 65)
SOME FIGURES relate to 2014-15 rather than 2015-16. These include members allowances (£1.1 million in 2014 – 15) item 8 page 35; renumeration details to higher earners 9b page 36 and exit packages 9b page 36.)