‘10 years too late & now local taxpayers are being asked to pay Robert Goodwill’s bill’
Scarborough Borough Labour Group is concerned not only that the Whitby Piers have been left almost 10 years since repairs were recommended but also that Borough and County taxpayers look likely to pick up a £3m+ Government shortfall for the £8m+ bill.
Whitby Labour councillor Gerald Dennett sought assurance at the March Council meeting that local taxpayers would not be left with a major bill to make up a grant shortfall, he also asked about contributions from repair “beneficiaries” who the government planned would make up the £3m difference.
Scarborough Cabinet member with harbour responsibilities, Cllr Mike Cockerill, indicated that BT had declined to contribute, and that gas, water and electricity providers had not replied to his request.
Rather than assure Cllr Dennett and local taxpayers, Cllr Cockerill confirmed that local County Council taxpayers in addition to Borough taxpayers were being asked to make up the shortfall.
Labour Group Leader Steve Siddons reminded councillors at the annual Council Budget meeting that Coastal Protection was a government duty.
“The Whitby Piers should have been repaired 10 years ago.
If they had been repaired then, Gordon Brown’s government would have paid 100% of the bill.
Instead today we are left with more than a £3m shortfall. This is Robert Goodwill’s bill not local Council Taxpayers’. The government has shamelessly abdicated their duty and the Scarborough Cabinet have meekly accepted it.
It has been the government’s job since 1949 to ensure Whitby, Scarborough and Filey don’t fall into the sea. Local councils have never had the resources for Coastal Protection and could end up bankrupt if they have to find them now.”
The Labour Group plans a follow up once the Borough Council has had a reply from local MP Robert Goodwill who was hoping to meet Under Secretary of State Therese Coffey the Minister responsible.