As a growing number of you are aware, Thurrock Council have borrowed over £1 billion, a lot of this from other local authorities, to invest in ‘green bonds’ attached to a number of solar farms. The intention was to generate enough of an income from these investments to help the council balance the books. However, there have been questions raised about the operational effectiveness of these solar farms and how this could impact on the value of these ‘green bonds’. As a consequence of this, questions are being raised from a number of quarters about what Thurrock Council actually did when it came to due diligence before splurging millions of pounds of taxpayers money on these investments.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently published this piece as part of a series looking at how Thurrock Council have conducted themselves in implementing these investments: Fraud allegations call £400m council investments into question – 17.10.20. The leader of the Labour opposition group on the council, Cllr. John Kent, has written a letter to the leader of the council, Cllr. Rob Gledhill, asking him to clarify what exactly happened with the due diligence that should have been applied: Thurrock could face decades of debt and deep, damaging cuts to front-line services as Labour put pressure on council leader – 26.10.20.
We would like to think that Cllr. Gledhill and all of the senior council officers who were involved in setting up this ‘investment’ are starting to feel the pressure and will eventually come clean with the residents of Thurrock who they are supposed to be serving. However, given how tight lipped Thurrock Council have been over this tawdry affair so far, we’ve no idea what they’re thinking.
If as has been indicated, these ‘investments’ aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and the council loses money which will have to be paid back to the authorities they borrowed it from, then us residents of Thurrock are in for a bleak future. One in which the priority will be paying back that debt regardless of the pain caused by the deep cuts to services and the assets that will have to be flogged off to facilitate that. Ruling group councillors and senior officers screw up and it’s us, the residents, who end up paying the cost. Whatever happens, we must make sure it’s the culprits paying that cost and not us with the services we rely on being slashed and the assets such as the parks we love being sold off to the highest bidder. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride…
Lastly, for the record, this is what we’ve written about this affair…so far! We’re sure that over the coming months and most likely, years, we’ll be obliged to have a lot more to say…
One to watch… – 25.10.20
Murkier and murkier… – 17.10.20
This is right off the scale! – 24.05.20