Liverpool Council energy contract inquiry will cost taxpayers £80,000
Liverpool ratepayers are set to shell out around £80,000 for an independent inquiry into the City Council’s failures over an energy contract.
Auditors are now carrying out an urgent inquiry into the City Council to find out how a litany of errors occurred which could cost the City up to £16million in extra electricity costs. The international accounting firm Mazars was entrusted with this task.
The investigation is expected to be completed by the end of the month, with Mayor Joanne Anderson demanding “full accountability” for the costly mistakes made. ECHO understands the investigation will likely cost the city council and taxpayers up to £80,000.
READ MORE: Deputy mayor stripped of financial role after council energy bill ‘disaster’
It’s another added cost the city will have to pay as the struggling council tries to recover. Liverpool residents are already paying wages of up to £1,800 a day for four commissioners who were appointed after council’s damning inspection report last year. The commissioners will remain in place for at least three years.
Deputy Mayor Jane Corbett was the first of what could be a number of victims of the energy contract fiasco. She had her memoir removed from finance and was taken over by Mayor Joanne Anderson. Mayor Anderson said she will now hire a new political adviser to help specifically with the budget, while Cllr Corbett will focus on council’s response to the cost of living crisis.
The electricity scandal, which is expected to cost the council £4.5million immediately and will also hit local schools and firefighters with huge extra bills, will be the subject of what could be a bombshell meeting at the town hall tonight. A special meeting of the finance and resources committee of the authority has been called where the whole question will be discussed.
There are real concerns that the energy debacle could prompt further government intervention at Liverpool City Council. Current commissioners oversee the specific departments of regeneration, highways and property management – but Communities Secretary Michael Gove retains the power to stage further interventions if he feels enough progress is not being made .
The current team of commissioners were due to submit their final progress update to the board last month, but the latest issues have delayed that until early June. A statement from Mr Gove’s department only raised fears of further action.
A department spokesperson said: “This situation is unacceptable. We sent in commissioners last year to turn this ailing board around to serve the public, and we remain in close contact with them about of their progress.