Cllrs. Battlemuch, Longford and Webster – For the sake of the city, resign

Nottingham’s Liberal Democrats have called for the resignation of three of the Labour councillors at the heart of the Robin Hood Energy scandal. Following the damning report from the external auditor released on Tuesday 11th August 2020, the Liberal Democrats believe it is clear that responsibility has to be taken for what the report described as the council’s “institutional blindness” for pouring millions of pounds of loans into a company that was compromised in its ability to make repayments.

Speaking for Nottingham Lib Dems, their chair Rebecca Procter said:

“Today we are calling for accountability and we are calling for action. Firstly it is clear that three councillors have been heavily involved in this mess and should resign immediately. Cllr Battlemuch is a former Chair and current board member of Robin Hood Energy, as well as being the Chair of the Audit Committee at Nottingham City Council. We believe his position is untenable and he should remove himself from all positions at the energy company and resign as a councillor.

“The current Portfolio Holder for Energy is Cllr Longford. This report has happened on her watch and she must take responsibility. It is worth remembering that short of being put in special measures, the publication of this report is the most serious sanction that a local authority can be given and they are not given out lightly[1]. The Portfolio Holder must take responsibility.

“Finally, this has been a financial disaster for the city. For a council to knowingly loan a company public money when the company’s ability to repay was continuing to ebb away is gross incompetence. The Portfolio Holder for Finance is Cllr Webster. He should do the decent thing and resign his seat on the council today.

“We welcome the apology from the Leader of the Council, Cllr Mellen. He is right to apologise but an apology without action is not enough. We hope he will persuade his colleagues to take responsibility for their actions and resign their seats.

“The future of Robin Hood Energy now needs to be looked into. It is a local employer and it has millions of pounds of public money invested in it. The Labour Council needs to come up with a solution that benefits the city and its residents rather than taking us all for granted so that they can pursue ideological vanity projects”

[1] – reference to Report in the Public Interest under section 24 and Schedule 7 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014