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Council investments


Gary
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3 hours ago, Evil Sid said:

Del boy had better investment instincts than our council.....🤭

A bank that has yet to show any return on the money invested in it and an energy company that is making a consistent  annual loss.

May all turn out to be so much loose change compared to what might happen with The Hut Group. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58951738

God knows what the terms of that £151million are and that underlines the real problem. You have a handful of people - and in the case of certain aspects of Redwood, one person - making deals for tens of millions of pounds with no scrutiny, accountability or transparency whatsoever. Still seems unlikely to me that anything untoward is going on, but if anybody wanted to indulge in anything dodgy, all the pieces are in place. 

Most likely it all comes down to over-confidence, lack of accountability, stupidity and groupthink.   

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Can't say I take a deep interest in local politics;  but based on the comments of a friend, it appears the Council could be dabbling in areas of finance that are "iffy" and for which they have no experience or training, plus getting into bed with cowboys.   It's our money, that we pay for services, NOT financial speculation.    :rolleyes:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anybody know if Together Energy paid the £12 million they owed Ofgem yesterday? 

Update - I see the council has issued a statement saying that it is happy for TE to delay this payment because it's in the company's best interests not to pay the money it owes. So that's OK then. Obviously not a problem that the company can't pay its bills despite being 'solvent'. Even when it has been told it will have its licence revoked so can't trade. Obviously not a problem at all. 

Let's see if the council applies the same thinking to the money it is owed.  

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2 hours ago, grey_man said:

Anybody know if Together Energy paid the £12 million they owed Ofgem yesterday? 

Update - I see the council has issued a statement saying that it is happy for TE to delay this payment because it's in the company's best interests not to pay the money it owes. So that's OK then. Obviously not a problem that the company can't pay its bills despite being 'solvent'. Even when it has been told it will have its licence revoked so can't trade. Obviously not a problem at all. 

Let's see if the council applies the same thinking to the money it is owed.  

I have asked Ofgem to keep me posted.

https://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/2021/11/01/council-satisfied-non-payment-of-12-5m-renewables-obligations-is-in-best-interest-of-together-energy/

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3 minutes ago, grey_man said:

Thanks Gary. Nice to see one local journalist is on top of this story. 

Like many news organisations we are a relatively small team with a huge work load covering a wide area - but we try our best to keep the public informed and the council and others accountable while being balanced and fair. It is nice to know when our work is appreciated so thank you.

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  • 2 months later...
1 hour ago, grey_man said:

Well, looks like one turkey is coming home to roost. 

By the end of the month according to the news - isn't that the new ultimatum on the Green charges they owe so Ofgem have the decision to make whether to punish Warrington Council Tax payers for the actions of their council or letting them ride out the storm. A storm which is being handled at the international level between Russia, the US and Germany. A bit outside the council's competence but not impossible to forecast by experts given the pipeline debacle has been an open sore for years.

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1 hour ago, Confused52 said:

By the end of the month according to the news - isn't that the new ultimatum on the Green charges they owe so Ofgem have the decision to make whether to punish Warrington Council Tax payers for the actions of their council or letting them ride out the storm. A storm which is being handled at the international level between Russia, the US and Germany. A bit outside the council's competence but not impossible to forecast by experts given the pipeline debacle has been an open sore for years.

Yes, and there's a general point about the council's approach to this, exemplified by Tony Higgins' recent filmed rant about the council not having any unsafe investments. No investment is safe because 'events, dear boy'. This is business and politics 101 and Cllr Higgins' attitude to the issue perfectly sums up the hubris, bluster and denial that run through every element of WBC. They have ignored every single question and concern about what they are doing, and attacked anybody who has dared to so much as raise an eyebrow about it all. 

Gary's interview with Mr Broomhead might also be worth a revisit because if it comes to the worst, it may be that he has issued misleading statements about this situation. 

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15 hours ago, grey_man said:

Gary's interview with Mr Broomhead might also be worth a revisit because if it comes to the worst, it may be that he has issued misleading statements about this situation. 

Politicians issuing misleading statements, whatever next.....:rolleyes:

I wonder how many are waiting now to see how long our bank will survive.......🤫

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8 hours ago, Evil Sid said:

Politicians issuing misleading statements, whatever next.....:rolleyes:

I wonder how many are waiting now to see how long our bank will survive.......🤫

He's not a politician even if he doesn't keep his political opinions to himself, as he is supposed to. He might also need to explain why there have been serious accusations of electoral fraud at each of the last two elections for which he was returning officer. At best, they happened under his nose. 

Within two or three weeks this council could have failed completely. Even if that doesn't happen, serious questions need to be asked of it by people with the power to intervene. 

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18 hours ago, Gary said:

Watch out for a significant update in this ongoing saga this coming week or so

https://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/2022/01/05/fears-growing-council-backed-together-energy-facing-collapse/

Let's hope it's good news. And, even if it is, that the council treats it as a warning and dials down the hubris. 

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5 hours ago, grey_man said:

Let's hope it's good news. And, even if it is, that the council treats it as a warning and dials down the hubris. 

From: Utility Week today

Together Energy is to be expelled from the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) after failing to reduce its credit cover percentage. The Clydebank-based company, which trades on the BSC as ‘Eddingtn’, was listed as being in credit default on 4 January.

Difficult to trade when you cannot buy electricity I would have thought. The BSC is the agreement by which Elexon controls the supply of electricity to the grid. Without this I would think that Ofgem will have to act. Going, going........

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22 hours ago, Confused52 said:

From: Utility Week today

Together Energy is to be expelled from the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) after failing to reduce its credit cover percentage. The Clydebank-based company, which trades on the BSC as ‘Eddingtn’, was listed as being in credit default on 4 January.

Difficult to trade when you cannot buy electricity I would have thought. The BSC is the agreement by which Elexon controls the supply of electricity to the grid. Without this I would think that Ofgem will have to act. Going, going........

https://news.sky.com/story/warrington-council-backed-together-energy-lines-up-administrators-12513276

I guess we now find out how much the council has exposed the town's backside and how much of Mr Broomhead's recent statement was factual. What a bloody mess. 

Update: Given that this news story hasn't been repeated on either of the local news sites, regardless of whether it turns out to be fully correct, I have to wonder if journalists agree in advance with the council to wait for a full announcement before reporting. That may be a reasonable assumption given Gary's tease, above. I guess that's fair enough but I really hope the council won't try to spin this and - at least once - be honest with people. 

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It seems the council are now loaning a total of £37.5 million to a housing provider. Following on from the energy fiasco could this just be more money down the drain ?

Is the idea of these loans to offset council tax rises upon repayment or just to line the pockets of a few people?

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12 hours ago, ninearches said:

It seems the council are now loaning a total of £37.5 million to a housing provider. Following on from the energy fiasco could this just be more money down the drain ?

Is the idea of these loans to offset council tax rises upon repayment or just to line the pockets of a few people?

The idea is to borrow the money, solely or primarily from the government's Public Works Loan Board at low interest rates to invest in projects that generate an income for the council, which has seen a large cut in its funding from central government. Some of the projects may have other objectives - housing, infrastructure, jobs and skills creation etc and indeed the council isn't supposed to invest in projects that are solely about making money, but that is clearly the main motive here. 

Many or all councils are in this position. So in essence, what the council is doing is understandable. But the town is now in debt for over £1.6 billion and the strategy includes some dogs like Together Energy which will end up defeating the whole objective, IMO. It will take a very long time indeed to repay the debt. There is nowhere near enough transparency, scrutiny and accountability (IMO) and here we are. 

As I say above, I don't think there's any evidence that anybody is lining their pockets, but if they wanted to. these are the perfect conditions. More likely it's people with an overinflated sense of their own ability, playing with vast sums of money but no skin in the game, and with no push back or scrutiny. And above all no accountability. There are no consequences for fouling up on this scale. 

Cllr Tony Higgins was filmed recently ranting about how the council knew exactly what it was doing, all the investments were completely safe and anybody who disagreed was a 'stalker'. Sums him and the whole council up, because anybody with any sense or experience knows that simply cannot be true. And wasn't even true when he said it, because TE was already in trouble. If it were true, the likes of Lynton Green, Steven Broomhead, Russ Bowden and Cllr Higgins himself wouldn't be working for a town council in the North of England. They'd be earning billions elsewhere. 

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That’s true Dave but it looks to me like the council put too many eggs in one basket. When it comes to investing it’s always safer to spread any risk over multiple organisations in different fields to avoid something like this. I get the sense that they've been unduly influenced by the green agenda and while such things buy them lots of brownie points with the public they’ve lost sight of basic economic common sense.

 

Bill 😊

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