City Parking keeps quiet over £1m-a-year losses

CITY Parking did not mention its £1million-a-year losses in its latest financial update for city councillors.

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SNP Councillor Graeme Hendry says the council must come clean on City Parkings' financial losses
SNP Councillor Graeme Hendry says the council must come clean on City Parkings' financial losses

Glasgow's arm's-length council firm has now ended five consecutive years in the red since it was set up by former city leader Steven Purcell in 2007.

But the business, in a six-monthly performance report to go before councillors this week, makes no reference to its cumulative losses of more than £5m.

Graeme Hendry, the SNP leader in Glasgow and a long-standing critic of the firm, today said he was astonished by the oversight.

City Parking and the council draw up a "risk register" of things that could – but won't necessarily – go wrong.

This, despite a focus on financial problems, does not mention the firm's losses.

Mr Hendry said: "For the council to provide a list of risks for City Parking and not include its inability ever to make a profit seems bizarre.

"The council is obliged by Audit Scotland guidance to be open on such issues. Given this behaviour by the council it is clear we would not know the full scale of its problems if it was not for the Evening Times."

City Parking routinely posts operational profits – however these are vastly outweighed by the cost of servicing the multi-million-pound loan it took out to "buy" car parks from its parent, Glasgow City Council.

Its latest report and "risk register" includes news that its operational surplus will fall in 2012-13 to £14,000, from a budgeted target of £52,000.

It makes no predictions on what its actual final profit or loss will be.

As the Evening Times revealed earlier this month, the company lost £1.029m in 2011-12, after making an operating profit of £807,379.

The company has received several cash bail-outs over recent years, including £750,000 from Glasgow City Council to pay off almost its entire management.

The city last year also had to step in to guarantee its overdraft.

Council sources recently stressed City Parking is operating in a tough economic climate.

However, last week it was revealed English councils had accrued record profits from their car-parking operations.

A council spokesman said the committee could have demanded full disclosure of past and potential future financial losses if it wished.

He said: "If the committee wants to talk to City Parking about its finances, it will get that information.

"However, that is not what it has been asked to report on."

david.leask@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

Local government

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