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Council investment questions cannot be ignored

May 25, 2020 7:30 PM

While the Council rightly remains focused on the Covid-19 response, it still has serious questions to answer about it's investments, especially Redwood Bank.

This is the claim by Grappenhall and Appleton Thorn Borough Councillor Ryan Bate. Recent 'freedom of information' requests conducted by one of his residents have brought to light the concerns of council auditors, Grant Thornton.

Cllr Bate says, "Covid-19 has sent a tidal wave through the economy and this will have impacted the Council's finances. In light of the pandemic's impact, the Council must address ongoing concerns around its investment strategy and in particular it's holding in Redwood Bank.

There are outstanding questions on the justification for the price which Warrington Council paid for its share in the bank. The publicly released information suggests that it paid in the region of twelve times more per share compared to its partners.

I understand the need for commercial confidentiality, but the Council needs to be much more open and transparent, not least with its own auditors. The Council needs to tell the public and opposition parties exactly where our investments now stand so that we can try to work through this together. What is the current value of the investment in Redwood Bank? We also need clarification about when the Accounts for 2017/18 and 2018/19 are going to be signed off."