Following last week’s Full Council meeting, St Albans Liberal Democrats have attacked the Conservative run council for a series of recent failures and poor financial management. This follows a disastrous report on the levels of financial risk the council has exposed itself too, persistent ducking of questions about how the council went about organising the Meraki festival, and the news that the new museum is expected to make a loss, not a profit in its first year.
In January the council’s Audit Committee heard how the Council has no Risk Management Policy and how the council’s procedures do not meet best practice. The Liberal Democrat Council Group tabled a motion at last week’s Full Council meeting designed to address the issues highlighted by the Audit report, but this was irresponsibly voted down by the Conservatives.
This is after a confidential report, mistakenly published on the Council’s website earlier this month, revealed that the new Museum and Gallery is expected to make a £108,000 loss in its first year. The report showed that despite projecting that the exciting new project would make money, the Conservative administration have yet again failed to properly consider risk and budgets.
Local people are left questioning the ability of the Conservative administration to budget properly, following the revelations at the Audit Committee, and after the Tories had claimed that the new museum was expected to make money, not lose it.
Chris White, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “It’s astonishing that the Conservatives have only taken action on financial risk when pushed by us. This is the latest in a litany of failures that the current administration has presided over, and it’s the residents of our district that suffer as a consequence.
“St Albans deserves a better and more responsible council than this. We need a council that we can trust to spend wisely, not make stupid mistakes, and be honest with residents. The Liberal Democrats are ready to step up and succeed where the Tories have failed. “
Councillor Jacqui Taylor said: “The news about the Museum was the latest in a line of gaffes from the Conservative council, who have risked the reputation of our great city by failing to properly manage initiatives like Meraki Festival and Pub in the Park. When we ask questions of the administration, they just try and duck taking responsibility. We deserve to know the truth.”