MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
A cross-party committee of councillors has refused to formally sign off Haringey Council’s annual accounts without concerns about the probity of the Alexandra Palace Trust’s spending being properly highlighted.
Last Thursday (26th June 2008) at the Council’s General Purposes Committee meeting, three Liberal Democrat and four Labour councillors unanimously agreed to alter Haringey Council’s 2007/08 ‘Statement of Accounts’ to acknowledge that £3.1m of council taxpayers’ money may have been spent improperly by Alexandra Palace.
In addition, Haringey Council’s Chief Finance Officer agreed to speak to the Charity Commission about councillors’ concerns. The Palace is intended to be managed as a charitable organisation but an investigation by the Charity Commission is currently under way to probe the legality of the botched deal to sell the Palace to private developer Firoka.
The deal left the Palace Trust with a £3.1m budget deficit in 2007/08, which Haringey Council used council taxpayer’s money to pay off.
Cllr Richard Wilson, Liberal Democrat Deputy leader, comments:
“Local taxpayers have been hit with a massive £3 million bill because of Labour’s mismanagement of the Palace.I am outraged that Haringey Council were trying to sweep this catastrophic loss under the carpet, when in fact there are serious concerns about how so much money went down the drain during their failed attempt to flog the Palace.
“It is hugely embarrassing for the Labour-controlled Palace Trust that Labour councillors have at last joined with Liberal Democrats in highlighting doubts about how money is being spent at Ally Pally.”
Cllr Jonathan Bloch, Liberal Democrat member of the General purposes Committee adds:
“Council taxpayers have a right to know what happened to their money. There now needs to be a thorough investigation into whether £3million of taxpayers’ money and charity funds were used correctly.”