Shock figures show Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's deficits

LIABILITIES: Jason Vaughan

FIGURES: Weymouth and Portland Borough Council

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

WEYMOUTH and Portland Borough Council has one of the worst records in the country for liabilities compared to assets

Its liabilities mount up to more than 150 per cent the worth of its assets – and taxpayers are footing the bill.

Shock figures released today show there is a £30m deficit between the council’s long-term liabilities and its assets. Its long-term borrowing in 2012-13 was £27m, an increase of almost £300,000 on the previous year.

And all this debt works out as £1,250 for every resident in the borough.

The authority’s liabilities, in comparison to its assets, is the sixth worst in the UK. Its long-term liabilities rack up to £81m, whilst its assets are worth just £51m.

Authorities have been accused of using council taxes to ‘service debt interest rather than for frontline services.’ Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which collated the data, said: “It is nothing short of immoral for councils to pile further debt on the next generation.

“Britain’s public finances are in real trouble, and local authorities can no longer avoid tough choices by putting the bill on taxpayers' credit cards.

“Councils must look again at overgenerous pensions and wage a war on waste, or Britain’s debt burden may soon become too heavy to bear.”

But Jason Vaughan, council director for resources, has called the figures ‘alarmist’ and ‘manipulated’.

He said the authority’s investments ‘more than match’ its borrowing and it has £10.5m in reserves.

Mr Vaughan added: “The debt has not changed for a number of years.

“What the TaxPayers’ Alliance is comparing is a bit like adding apples and bananas and making carrots.”

He said the figures have been taken from external auditors which look at the authority every year and have deemed it in a fit and proper state to continue. He added: “(The TaxPayers’ Alliance) has manipulated certain figures to create headlines that alarm people.”

He said Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is ‘in a stable financial position.’ Liabilities are the authority’s legal debts or obligations and are settled over time through the transfer of money, goods or services.

Liabilities include loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred revenues and accrued expenses.

The figures show Dorset County Council has more than £661million of liabilities.

This works out as £1,594 for every resident of the county.

It says it borrows ‘in line with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) prudential code to ensure that borrowing is sensible, prudent and sustainable in the interests of delivering infrastructure and capital projects for the benefit of Dorset’s 400,000 plus residents’ and that interest is funded from revenue budget.

West Dorset District Council has liabilities of just 29 percent of the worth of its assets and is in the top 15 most solvent authorities in the country.

HOW THEY RANK

Weymouth and Portland

2012-13

Long-term liabilities- £81m

Long-term borrowing- £28m

Long-term assets- £51m

Dorset County Council

2012-13

Long-term liabilities - £661m

Long-term borrowing - £171m

Long-term assets- £946m

West Dorset District Council

Long-term liabilities- £29m

Long-term borrowing- £6m

Long-term assets- £100m

Comments (9)

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7:17am Tue 1 Jul 14

jools says...

Are we REALLY surprised??
Are we REALLY surprised?? jools
  • Score: 4

7:22am Tue 1 Jul 14

MrTomSmith says...

No not in the slightest.
No not in the slightest. MrTomSmith
  • Score: 3

7:31am Tue 1 Jul 14

The Fish says...

So we have 10.5m in reserve, I suspect that will be 0.5m soon as someone (us) will have to pay for the new Condor berth!
So we have 10.5m in reserve, I suspect that will be 0.5m soon as someone (us) will have to pay for the new Condor berth! The Fish
  • Score: 1

8:00am Tue 1 Jul 14

Get a grip says...

And on top of this we know that the property assets are not being managed correctly.

Prime seafront property stays empty for over 5 years.
And on top of this we know that the property assets are not being managed correctly. Prime seafront property stays empty for over 5 years. Get a grip
  • Score: 7

10:06am Tue 1 Jul 14

RobinofLocksley says...

Bear in mind that The Taxpayers Alliance have a political agenda, and do a little research on them.
Bear in mind that The Taxpayers Alliance have a political agenda, and do a little research on them. RobinofLocksley
  • Score: 8

11:34am Tue 1 Jul 14

westbaywonder says...

Vaughan seems to be happy with not a care in the world !
Vaughan seems to be happy with not a care in the world ! westbaywonder
  • Score: 0

9:14am Wed 2 Jul 14

weymouthfox says...

What more would you expect from a group of ineffective councillors and inept officers?
What more would you expect from a group of ineffective councillors and inept officers? weymouthfox
  • Score: -1

11:11am Wed 2 Jul 14

Rocksalt says...

RobinofLocksley wrote:
Bear in mind that The Taxpayers Alliance have a political agenda, and do a little research on them.
This is true. They present themselves as some sort of grassroots organisation. In reality the source of their funding is very obscure and at least one senior figure wasn't even a UK resident.
[quote][p][bold]RobinofLocksley[/bold] wrote: Bear in mind that The Taxpayers Alliance have a political agenda, and do a little research on them.[/p][/quote]This is true. They present themselves as some sort of grassroots organisation. In reality the source of their funding is very obscure and at least one senior figure wasn't even a UK resident. Rocksalt
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Wed 2 Jul 14

WykeReg says...

I hope the Taxpayers' Alliance does have a political agenda. Someone needs to represent the interests of taxpayers against central and local government rapaciousness. Politicians believe there is an orchard full of money trees. Unfortunately it's our money hanging from the branches.

I couldn't care less whether some folk in the Taxpayers' alliance are not UK residents. They can be from a planet in a distant galaxy so long as they can pressure government to slash spending and stop thieving our hard-earned.
I hope the Taxpayers' Alliance does have a political agenda. Someone needs to represent the interests of taxpayers against central and local government rapaciousness. Politicians believe there is an orchard full of money trees. Unfortunately it's our money hanging from the branches. I couldn't care less whether some folk in the Taxpayers' alliance are not UK residents. They can be from a planet in a distant galaxy so long as they can pressure government to slash spending and stop thieving our hard-earned. WykeReg
  • Score: 0

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