Scarborough Borough Council accounts still not signed off

If a resolution cannot be found the issue could end up in court
If a resolution cannot be found the issue could end up in court

The long-running saga over Scarborough Council’s accounts continues to rumble on.

For the third year running the authority’s accounts have not been signed off following a legal challenge.

The 2017/18 accounts are being held up as the authority is locked in a legal challenge with a group of residents over how it classifies income and expenditure from Whitby harbour.

Accounts going back to 2015/16 and 2016/17 also remain unsigned as the dispute rages on.

The Fight4Whitby pressure group launched a legal challenge in 2016 citing the 1905 Whitby Urban District Council Act, which states that income from Whitby harbour must be ringfenced for use within the harbour.

The group has been crowdfunding its legal challenge.

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

On Thursday October 18 Scarborough Council’s audit committee was told by the authority’s auditors, Mazars, that the dispute was still not settled.

A report from Mazars, which went before the committee, stated: “The audit implications of the objection, which need to be considered fully before we can issue an opinion on the accounts for 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18, have not yet been determined and we are considering the legal advice we have obtained on the matter and a response to a number of questions from the council.”

The case was also described as “very complex” and “involving lots of different statutes.”

If a resolution cannot be found the issue could end up in court.