Slough Tories 'deeply concerned' council has 'essentially declared bankruptcy' after section 114 notice

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk
Slough council leader grilled over damning audit reports

Tory councillor Wayne Strutton (left) and council leader James Swindlehurst

The opposition group has reacted to the news that Slough Borough Council has been issued with a section 114 notice.

Leader of the Conservative group, Cllr Wayne Strutton (Con, Haymill and Lynch Hill), said: "I am deeply concerned that under the leadership of the Labour administration, Slough Borough Council has today issued a Section 114 notice, essentially declaring bankruptcy.

“This is a pinnacle point in the history of Slough, and the delivery of our frontline services for our residents.

“It is damning that the Council will have to ask the Government for a £174 million Capitalisation Direction, as a consequence of years of financial negligence and overambition by the Labour administration. 

“A degree of negligence which raises severe questions about the legality of the Budget agreed by Council in March of this year.

“It is time that those responsible for this financial catastrophe are held accountable."

In response to the section 114 notice, leader of the council, James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green), said: “The process of repairing council finances continues and our commitment to the provision of essential services remains unchanged - bins will still be collected, potholes still filled, care still provided to our most vulnerable.

“We have had a team forensically scouring our financial statements and processes. To back up the commitment to better financial management, at the May council meeting, I took on the portfolio as part of cabinet and involved all the lead members in discussions to secure our financial future.

“Some of the issues being found go back several years, but this cabinet, appointed in May, will make the decisions required and put the council on a sustainable footing.

“The journey we have been undertaking with the transformation and restructure has helped us identify priorities for our communities and concentrate on what is required for Slough residents, businesses and the town as a whole.

“We will continue to engage all residents and other stakeholders in the ongoing improvements to our council finances.”

CEO of CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, Rob Whiteman, said: “Slough’s section 151 officer has done entirely the right thing, with the intention of this legislative provision being to implement a brake whilst the council plans an accelerated change of direction to restore its finances.

"It appears that the resource requested by Slough through the capitalisation directive is insufficient to balance the books.

“As for any council, whilst the CFO has a vitally important role to highlight the position, financial recovery will need a concerted corporate response from elected members and chief officers."

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