On Thursday 25th May, the Local Government Minister Lee Rowley MP made a written statement to the House of Commons regarding the financial position of Woking Borough Council. The report has found failures in the Council's compliance with its Best Value Duty in respect of the financial and commercial risks facing the Authority. This report is the culmination of a year long process and as a result urgent government action is required to protect the interests of the residents of Woking. Three commissioners have been appointed to oversee and support the Council in its financial dealings from this point forwards.
The Woking Council Conservatives Group welcomes this report and accepts the findings of the department. Our intention has always been to ensure that Woking maintains its vibrant local economy and that it remains a place where people want to live, work and spend their free time. The DLUHC report states the following in item 18:
“Due to the Covid pandemic and the current economic climate, the council car parking and commercial income has reduced whilst its debt repayments have remained relatively constant but are forecast to grow.”
It is this outcome that has led to the financial difficulties the borough faces today. We fully accept this key conclusion of the DLUHC review. The Conservative group apologises and takes its share of responsibility for not ensuring that a more robust financial platform was in place to protect the Council against these unforseen global challenges. Given the fact that these projects were only brought forward with cross-party Liberal Democrat support, we encourage the Liberal Democrats, who also voted this through, to accept their share of responsibility and apologise.
The DLUHC report clearly states that the Council as it stands lacks the capability to adequately deal with these issues, hence the need for the above measures. We will work collaboratively with all stakeholders across the borough to get through this turbulent time and get on with the job that we were elected to do - deliver for our residents.
To read the report, click here - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/.../Woking...