The stakes for Brighton andHove taxpayers are high as the council makes decisions on the mounting debts of the Brighton i360.
The struggling attraction has once again failed to meet its twice-yearly loan repayment to Brighton and Hove City Council and recently the Labour administration proposed a series of further deferments on the i360’s repayments extending to June 2021.
Labour’s proposal will mean it will be two years since a repayment has been received from the i360 on its debts.
The i360 has a £36.2 million loan to repay which is underwritten by Brighton and Hove City Council and its taxpayers.
So far the i360 has made only a small dent in this through repayments of £5.9 million, while the interest has increased the total value of the loan to £38.9 million.
The missed payments puts the taxpayers of Brighton and Hove in a perilous position, potentially liable for a sum equivalent to 5 per cent of its annual budget.
The Conservatives are concerned that Brighton and Hove taxpayers are not being adequately protected by the Labour administration’s decisions.
Under Labour’s plan we don’t have any guarantees at any point of any time that the i360 will actually ever repay any of the monies that is due to us.
As Conservative group leader I have called on the Labour administration to attach a directors guarantee on the full amount of money loaned to the i360.
If the i360 board, as it has stated, is that confident in the success of the i360 and in the success of their business plan, I would recommend that we ask them to put down a directors guarantee to ensure and protect the citizens of the city.
This simple step would put our taxpayers first, provide some accountability for the i360 board and protect vital services in our city in the future.
The Conservative group will continue to put the interests of taxpayers front and centre in our work for the city of Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.