SIXFIELDS AUDIT REPORT: Labour leader says "serious mistakes should lead to serious consequences"

Leader of the Labour Party, Councillor Danielle Stone
Leader of the Labour Party, Councillor Danielle Stone
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The leader of the Labour Party has criticised the response of Northampton Borough Council's Tory administration to the damning audit report over the Sixfields loan.

The report, published this morning by Price Waterhouse Cooper, was highly critical of the council's handling of the loan and the council has since apologised unreservedly.

Sixfields Stadium

Sixfields Stadium

Leader of the Labour party on Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Danielle Stone, said: "This report by internal auditors report is pretty damning of the whole NTFC loan and it is clear that many mistakes were made.

"For instance, the report says there was no proper business case, pressures to meet arbitrary timescales and loan instalments was not tied to the physical progress of building a stadium.

"There was not nearly enough checks in the process. The report shows that from start to finish the whole process had flaws and serious mistakes.

"This is a huge failure and rather predictably the Guildhall establishment have come out and said old clichés like ‘we will learn lessons’ and ‘new procedures are in place’.

"In most walks of life if a serious mistake like this was made there would serious consequences but the Guildhall establishment have put up a firewall around themselves," she said.

"We now wait for the KPMG report in due course. Let’s remember that KPMG hhas ave also indicated mistakes were made on other loans as well although thankfully those didn’t go belly up. I fear this whole debacle will be used in textbooks as an example of how not do loans.”

In a motion put forward by Labour councillor, Clement Chunga, in September this year, the Labour group said it had apologised for supporting the loan to Northampton Town in July 2013.

"The Labour Shadow Cabinet should have asked more questions and done an Overview and Scrutiny “call-in” on it. We are sorry. The Labour Group has apologised. Will the Conservative Group now also apologise?" the motion asked.

The minuted response from the then leader of the council, Councillor Mary Markham, stated: "I believe I should make no apology for supporting NTFC or any other sports club. Supporting the town’s sports clubs was an important part of our manifesto in 2011 and again in 2015."