7th January 2021
GCC chasing Community R4C for £67.42 instead of UBB for £MILLIONS
As you all know, Community R4C undertook the recent legal procurement challenge of GCC’s incinerator contract with UBB for the public good, to bring to light that a council contract was illegally let without proper oversight and was massively over the market price. We've been denied the court case to prove it on a technicality, although the numbers (that there had been a 36% increase of £163m to the contract) actually showed we had a valid case.
Gloucestershire County Council is now taking us to court next week to get us to pay £84,000 towards their legal costs, but the most they can possibly gain is £67.42 as this is all that we have in the bank. Are they trying to punish us for forcing the truth into the open, truth that they were trying to cover up? Instead of wasting their time pursuing and bankrupting a volunteer-led community organisation, entirely funded by our supporters, they’d be better off going for the £50m+ State Aid that has been wrongly paid to UBB.
Indeed, our action has opened the way for GCC to claim this large rebate from UBB. Grant Thornton, the council’s external auditor, has at last issued their Provisional Views report (confidential for the time being whilst we and GCC have a chance to comment) and they seem to be in agreement with us that something has indeed gone awry. Had such a report been available at the time, it is likely that we would not have been forced to go to court.
We have sent two letters to GCC asking them to drop the cost demand and we’ve copied in our MP Siobhan Baillie - see the letters here. So far we have had no reply from GCC and no indication that they will drop their claim to these costs. We hope they listen - we will let you know what happens.
In the meantime, GCC is consulting on their proposed budget for 2021/22 see: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/consultations/202122-budget-consultation-have-your-say/
Despite claims of savings, the incinerator contract is costing them £8.5m more per annum than their previous waste disposal contract. And their finances would look an awful lot better if they could get back the £millions of illegal state aid that they have paid to UBB. Please do fill out their consultation survey and make these points as forcefully as you can! Deadline is 5pm on 15th January.