Liverpool City Council will lose more than £300,000 in fees spent on due diligence on Everton’s new stadium project.
Everton have been confirmed to pay £502,000 of the £841,000 incurred by Liverpool Council after it was agreed last month that negotiations between the two sides would be concluded. In a joint statement from the local authority and the club, it was said that an “amicable agreement” had been reached regarding the Bramley Moore project.
Both sides said it was “reasonable and proportionate” for the Premier League club to shell out more than £500,000 as the work carried out was “solely for the benefit of Everton”. A proportion of the fees incurred related to Liverpool Council exploring the use of any future stadium in their 2022 Commonwealth Games bid for which Everton would not be responsible.
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The agreed deal has no further impact on council finances as an amount had been set aside during the 2022/23 budget process. The local authority gave chief executive Tony Reeves the power to end the “pending dispute” between the two sides after hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent on fees between 2016 and 2019 as he agreed to help fund the Everton’s new Bramley Moore. Pier stadium project.
Everton later looked for alternative sources of funding and did not seek funding with the council. Local government commissioners appointed to oversee Liverpool City Council highlighted the “governance failure” around the project.
The commissioners also ordered an investigation into how the council incurred “significant expenses” between April 2016 and March 2019. During this period, Liverpool City Council is said to have failed to manage the costs, “some of which are now irrecoverable”.
During last month’s cabinet meeting, Deputy Mayor Jane Corbett said the deal “solves one of several pending financial issues in council and contributes to the resolution of pending projects in collaboration with local government commissioners.” The deal has been met with criticism from Liberal Democrat Councilman Kris Brown.
Cllr Brown, chairman of the council’s audit committee, said: “While it is good to see the council recovering something from this sorry saga with Everton, we have effectively thrown £339,000 down the drain.
“For a cash-strapped council with taxpayers facing a huge bill of up to £16m from the power contract debacle, to lose over £300,000 on this Everton loan deal is just another kick in the teeth. Joe Anderson’s legacy is still hurting our city, mixed with new financial damage under the embattled leadership of Mayor Joanne Anderson.
“Liverpool deserves better.”