Sunday 12 October 2008

A 21st Century Viking Raid

When the story of local Councils being big losers from depositing money with Icesave, the failed Icelandic bank, I felt the inevitability of Northumberland County Council being involved. And sure enough it was - not the biggest loser, but in the top 5, with £23m. £23m!

This is a Council with a substantial deficit bequeathed by the old Labour and Council leadership, with the predicted savings from having a unitary council unliklely to materialise. You would have hoped the new leadership would have wanted to review the figures and assets. Its been common knowledge and talk that Icelandic banks were seriously overstretched and the leadership has had 4 months to do something about it.

I'm sure the excuses will come; interest rates were good; the bank was FSA approved; other Councils lost money as well. But in the end I guess its simple incompetence. Its not their money; they just don't care. I bet no-one takes responsibility for this potential loss - that I think will be key to whether or not the Lib Dems are serious about Government.

Vince Cable sounds like a serious financial leader - although a close comparison of his words suggests he's a bit flaky - but will his party here in Northumberland accept responsibility for this error?


Anonymous said...

Bigger council tax bill no doubt will come storming its way to our house. And yours.

CJ xx

Troy said...

Instead of it being a "Viking raid" it is more the equivalent of us sending our people over there to be raped and pillaged!

Heads should roll at the council - and employees should be named and shamed. And did they have their own savings in Iceland?

Instead of cutting council services it should be "we can no longer afford to make such generous pension contributions this year for our staff".

Central Government should NOT bail out these councils.

PS: Did you really post this at 8.29am on a Sunday morning? Gosh!

Troy said...

Another way to recoup the money - surcharge each employee for £1,769 (13,000 staff) or better still each County Councillor for £343,283(67 councillors). And you might get in unopposed next time!