Press and public excluded from council meeting to discuss decision to spend £500,000 to recover £10.25 million Cobblers loan

The public and the press were barred from a Northampton Borough Council meeting to discuss a decision to use £500,000 of taxpayers' money to try to recover a £10.25 million loan to Northampton Town Football Club.

Thursday, 11th August 2016, 8:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:34 pm
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A meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny committee was held at the Guildhall this evening after the cabinet’s decision was ‘called in’ by Labour councillors Danielle Stone and Arthur McCutcheon.

In the wording of the ‘call in’ from July 13, the councillors said the Tory-controlled council had not explained in enough detail why the figure of £500,000, which would come from council reserves, was needed.

However, before the committee began talking about the issue, committee chairman Councillor Jamie Lane excluded the public and the press from the meeting by claiming the “nature of the evidence due to be discussed” could lead to the “disclosure of exempted information.”

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Councillor Stone and McCutcheon said Northampton Borough Council had not been successful in recovering the £10.25 million loan and they believed there was a “serious risk” the £500,000 would also not be recovered.

Members of the scrutiny committee were due to hear evidence from Councillor Mary Markham, Leader of the Council, and Councillor Brandon Eldred, Cabinet Member for Finance, outlining their reasons for the decision to spend £500,000 in an attempt to recover the money loaned to the Cobblers.

Council officers were also due to be invited to give evidence and respond to the committee’s questions.

At the conclusion of the debate, the committee would then vote to decide whether or not it uphold the decision of the cabinet.