Tory Councillor Ken Atack, Lead member for Financial Management on Cherwell District Council (CDC) is resisting calls for his resignation, despite a potential loss to the council of £600,000.
Sean Woodcock, Leader of the Labour Group, brought the issue to the public’s attention in February of this year but so far the council is no nearer resolving it.
Sean Woodcock says, “Four years ago, Tory-led Cherwell District Council overpaid £1.5m to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
At the Full Council meeting on Monday evening (18/7/16), I asked the Leader to confirm how much of this money has been recovered. The answer is none.
We know because of this failure to recover this money after four years, that the council faces a loss of up to 40% of it. That is £600,000 lost.
We also know that this authority has lost investment income of £20,000 a year for each of the last four years from this overpayment.”
Due to an error the council paid DCLG £1.5m more that was due in business rates for the 2011/12 tax year. Recent letters from the Department indicate that the council will only recover about 60% of the overpayment, resulting in a loss of £600,000.
This week, and four years later Cllr Barry Wood, the Tory Leader of CDC, said, “I can confess that the money still rests with Her Majesty’s Treasury, ……….. and, as soon as there is something constructive to be told, Councillor Woodcock will be the first to know.”
Sean Woodcock says, “A few months ago I asked the Conservatives’ lead member for finance, Councillor Atack, to take responsibility for this shambles by resigning. He has not done so.
With an unknown amount CDC is spending on consultants and lawyers, the loss to the council grows month by month. I once more ask him to resign.”