The borough council stood guarantors for the loan, made by the West Cumbria Development Fund to help the rugby league club stay in business. But when insolvency forced the club into administration in September, effectively clearing the club’s £300,000 worth of debts, it came to payback time for the loan.
But the situation has angered Tory members on the Labour controlled local authority. “What this means is a loss to the Copeland taxpayer,” said David Moore, the Tory group leader. “Several of us flagged up the risks the council was taking at the time. No-one wants to say we were vindicated but the bottom line is that our taxpayers will have to pay the price, picking up the bill just at a time when we are having to make big cuts and big savings to keep services going.”
Council leader Elaine Woodburn told The Whitehaven News: “We have come forward and honoured our commitment.
The council also faces having to pay back a £50,000 bank overdraft which it agreed to guarantee to help Whitehaven RLFC survive around the same time as the £75,000 loan.
My comment: Why an earth is a council underwriting loans to a Rugby Football Club. I wonder how many times councillors and senior staff used the VIP lounge? An earlier post suggests they like a good jolly in Copeland Borough Council.
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