OPINION

Council must protect Brighton and Hove taxpayers from i360 crisis

Posted On 05 Jul 2020 at 6:48 pm

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.

anti-racist brighton and hove

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.

  1. Jonathan Simons Reply

    Hang on, so you are criticising a plan you literally voted for? Labour presented this terrible deferement and the Tories helped vote that through. You now own jointly with this momentum/labour administration any loss caused by this incompetent decision.

  2. ChrisC Reply

    So no recognition that it was the votes of Tory Councillors and the Greens that agreed to the £36 milion loan?

    Do you think that will just be forgotton?

    You can start by apologising for that before you start ctiticising the present afministration who have had to pick up the pieces for a decsion your party was very much complicit in.

  3. ChrisC Reply

    Link to the meeting of the B&HCC Policy and Respprces committee – March 2014 – that agreed to increase the loan from £15 to £36 milion

    The committee was made up of 5 Greens, 3 Tories and 2 Labour.

    The vote for the loan was 7-3

    https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=689&MId=5195

  4. Paul Irish Reply

    So, the i360 is not the success it was purported to be. Is anyone surprised. In a conurbation already at visitor saturation one of the reasons given for its building was ‘to increase the diversity and popularity’ of Brighton as a destination.
    Really, as recent events have shown increasing the popularity of Brighton is a disaster.
    If the council is serious about making Brighton popular it might want to start with the people who pay their salaries ie, council tax paying residents – waste removal, car parking and recycling.
    But with one proviso, it should be done to benefit the residents not council policy makers or visitors.

  5. Fishwife, 49 Reply

    They’re so desperate for footfall that they’re giving away countless freebies. Hubbie & I bought annual residents’ passes when they opened, allowing us half-price “flights”: since then, they’ve emailed us every year to tell us they’re renewing our membership for free, extended discounted tickets from off-peak to anytime, and offered us at least 6 free tickets for various occasions (including “kids go free” days). The latest email, sent a week ago, announced that they were extending residents’ passes from now until until mid-October, free of charge.
    Are they going to charge anybody full price?

  6. Paul J Williams Reply

    Turn the block beneath into a state of the art toilet block open 24hrs with attendents, piped music and scented soap and charge 30p a visit.
    If that’s not a money spinner, I don’t know what is.
    City desperately short of decent public toilets.
    Sell the doughnut on a stick to the scrap merchants. Job done.

  7. Paul J Williams Reply

    PS: Is this is the same council which can afford to close Madeira Drive and turns £millions away in trade, parking and events??? Vote of no confidence needed. Now.

  8. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Councils across the country have had money – much more – from the Publich Works Loan Board, some of them using it to buy commercial property gtom which to get income for other Council provisions. Fromm all this, one hopes that there will return proper Council funding rather than the system of bidding and outsourcing (Bertrams the book suppliers have gone bust, leaving our libraries bereft of new books).

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