Labour raise concerns over Saracens loan following Club relegation

Barnet’s Labour councillors have raised concerns over the Council’s £23 million loan to Saracens after the rugby club accepted relegation this weekend. The loan was agreed in 2018 to fund a new grandstand at Allianz Park.

Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings, has submitted the following questions to the Council:

  1. Given the relegation of Saracens and the subsequent likely fall in income, what guarantees does the Council have that the money already loaned will be paid back?
  2. What is the likelihood of both the Middlesex University and Middlesex Cricket ground going ahead?
  3. If they don’t how does this affect the loan?
  4. Was the effect of possible relegation considered during the Council’s due diligence period?
  5. If not, why not, as they had broken the salary cap for a few years?
  6. Has anything changed in the Council’s view of whether to continue the loan?
  7. What lessons has the Council learnt about the risk of commercial loans?
  8. Why weren’t risks associated with the loan part of the risk register?

Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “When this loan was discussed at Council I warned that we needed to be wise investors rather than risky gamblers, and of the need to bear in mind we are stewards of public money and the responsibility this brings. The Tories ignored my warnings. Saracens are an important and welcome part of the Borough, but this issue raises important questions about the ability of the Tories to effectively scrutinise financial risk and manage public money in the best interest of our residents.”

 

Notes

  1. Details of the relegation:

https://www.saracens.com/saracens-accepts-relegation-from-the-gallagher-premiership/

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/jan/18/saracens-relegated-end-of-season-premiership-rugby

 

  1. To see a copy of the Policy & Resources Committee report when the loan was agreed (Agenda Item 7): https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=692&MId=9459&Ver=4

 

For more information contact:

Cllr Barry Rawlings: 07833 530 593

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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