Welcome news of independent review into Scarborough Borough Council finances

5 April 2019 ......   Whitby Abbey, harbour, river Esk. Coastal Walk feature.  Picture Tony Johnson.
5 April 2019 ...... Whitby Abbey, harbour, river Esk. Coastal Walk feature. Picture Tony Johnson.

Latest reports indicate Scarborough Borough Council is unlikely to have their financial accounts signed off for a fourth year by the external auditor with a proposal to implement a Harbour Revision Order that will “clearly set out the boundary of the Whitby harbour and council land” – why has this taken four years to progress, does this have any financial implications or costs for Scarborough Borough Council and how long will this take?

It has also now been revealed that Scarborough Council is looking to borrow £22m to develop the old Argos site to build student flats and a public square in Scarborough town centre, almost doubling the amount of debt the borough authority has.

Scarborough Borough Council has taken the decision to extend their activities into commercial investment schemes, even though the accounts have not been signed off for up to four years and as of March 2019 the council had £25.7m in external long-term borrowing, meaning the amount of debt would nearly double when the loan for the Argos project is factored in.

We, the taxpayers, must ensure there is a high level of challenge from their external auditors and efficient reporting to maintain public confidence.

I therefore welcomed the news that there is to be an independent review of local authority financial reporting and auditing, but the question is will it come soon enough for taxpayers in the Scarborough Borough Council area?

Joyce Stangoe

St Andrew’s Road

Whitby