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Scarborough Borough Council Accounts Still In Limbo

Scarborough Borough Council Accounts Still In Limbo

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Carl Gavaghan at 2:42pm 18th July 2019.

A legal challenge which has stopped Scarborough Council’s accounts being signed off looks set to enter its fourth year.

The authority’s 2017/18, 2016/17 and 2015/16 accounts have all been held up as the council is locked in a legal challenge with a group of residents over how it classifies income and expenditure from Whitby harbour.

Next week, the council will be told that it will have the same impact on its 2018/19 accounts.

The challenge has come from the Fight4Whitby pressure group which launched a legal challenge in 2016 citing the 1905 Whitby Urban District Council Act, which stated that income from Whitby harbour must be ring-fenced for use within the harbour.

The group has been crowdfunding its legal challenge.

Scarborough Council denies this is the case and says it has “robust” legal advice which backs its stance to include income from the harbour in its general fund.

On Thursday (25th), independent auditors Mazars will present its latest report to Scarborough Council’s Audit Committee. Earlier this year it had stated that a decision could be just weeks away.

Now, its report to councillors states that it will continue to work on the objection through August.

It adds:

“In December 2017 we issued a provisional view which we shared both with the council and the objector. In response to further information provided by the objector we deemed further work to be necessary.

We met with officers in June 2018 to discuss the potential impact of legislation and progress on identifying income and expenditure attributable to the Whitby Harbour.

We have reviewed the council’s analysis of income and expenditure for 2015/16, reviewed documentation on Whitby harbour held in the national archive and we are now updating our provisional view.

We will be in a position to make progress now the council has set out its plans for implementing a Harbour Revision Order that clearly sets out the boundary of the Whitby harbour and council land.

At the time of writing we are still unable to conclude on the validity of the objection and as a consequence are unable to conclude on this matter.”

A decision had been expected earlier this year until the objector informed the auditor about new evidence that had been uncovered.


There are 2 comments on this page.

zara, on 18th July 2019 3:30pm
there's a surprise auditors dragging out the work!! I wonder if the 'robust legal advise' was obtained the way all other advise seems to be - over a quick casual phone call!! I am sure i never used to be as cynical as i am now, probably like most people i never took much interest in how the council is wasting my money. There are times i wish i did not bother reading council shenanigans my blood pressure was much lower...
Peter croft, on 18th July 2019 9:22pm
If the auditors were so close a decision and the council had a robust legal defence why has it taken (so far) four years to sort out and at what cost to the tax payer
If the council do not have properly signed off audited books how do they know they have enough money to pay back a £22 million loan, and more worryingly who would lend money to an organisation which cannot finalise its accounts, this surely affects the interest rate they are being charged as it is a greater risk, I would think amigo loans charge 1400%, remember it’s the tax payer funding the interest payments not the council.

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