Council row erupts after Conservative members claim Tameside Recreation Trust is a ‘time bomb’
Councilors argued over the Tameside Recreation Trust after a Conservative member claimed it was a “time bomb.”
In a plenary council meeting on Tuesday evening, Stalybridge South Tory Councilor Liam Billington criticized money that had been loaned to Active Tameside by town hall.
In November, the board accepted a loan of £ 1.8million to keep the leisure trust afloat for the remainder of the year.
But advisers involved in Active Tameside told the meeting it was “more than a gym” and that they had already paid off most of the loan money used as a result of an insurance payment. .
Councilor Billington said: “I raised the issue that Active Tameside is a time bomb.
‘In the last budget I said they had already had loans of over £ 7.5million with the council.
“This is a huge risk for the borough’s taxpayers. “
The newsletter that brings you direct Manchester political news, surveys – and a bit of gossip –
Sign up for our Manchester Memo newsletter to stay up-to-date on the top political issues of the week – and some of the others that may have slipped under the radar.
How do I register?
- First click on this link to our newsletter registration center.
- Once you’re there, put your email address where it’s listed at the top, then check the MEN Politics box. Other newsletters are also available if you wish.
- When you’ve made your choice, hit the Save Changes button at the bottom.
He said the level of financial support was “not fair” compared to government foreclosure grants offered to commercial gymnasiums and recreation facilities, and that the trust did not offer “value for money.”
Coun Billington added that his management of a weight loss campaign meant it would have been cheaper to send participants to “Lithuania for liposuction.”
“Active Tameside remains operational as it has received hundreds of thousands of annual contract payments from the public health commission, a luxury that other companies do not have,” he said.
“Recently Active Tameside was awarded £ 204,000 to lead a weight loss campaign on behalf of the council.
“Only 448 people took the program and less than half of those who did lost weight. It ended up costing taxpayers £ 1,200 per person to lose weight.
“Looking at Google, it would be cheaper to send people to Lithuania for liposuction, with an ad suggesting a cost of 413 euros.
“I think Tameside independent gyms should be able to bid on these contracts rather than just being handed over to Active Tameside.”
The council is currently commissioning health and social care services for adults and children from Active Tameside to deliver the “Live Active”, “Active Education” and “Anyone Can” programs.
The town hall says reopening and closing its centers during the closures has resulted in a loss of nearly £ 1million per month in lost business income.
Should the trust become insolvent, agents say it would likely result in the permanent closure of all of the gyms, recreation centers and swimming pools it manages.
Councilor Denise Ward told members that she chairs the Active Tameside Trust Board of Directors on a voluntary, unpaid basis.
Speaking to Councilor Billington, she added: “Active Tameside has had a year like no other and I would just like to draw her attention to all of the staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty without extra pay. , without additional day off.
“In this pandemic where many centers have been closed, they have always provided first class service to vulnerable people and children of Tameside.
“We delivered 750 free hot meals free of charge to vulnerable families in our borough, no matter where they live, we were there.
“Some of the food came from the allotment gardens used by Active Tameside, again overseen by vulnerable children.
“I really don’t know what he expects from this Active Tameside, but I do know your David Lloyds and Village gyms and people like that don’t do that service.
“This Active Tameside is more than a gymnasium and now with some centers closed they are also a vaccination center.”
A cabinet member for Neighborhoods, Community Safety and the Environment, Councilor Allison Gwynne added there was a “misunderstanding” around the £ 1.8million loan to the trust.
“Active Tameside, as a prudent and responsible company, has taken out specific insurance to cover losses in the event of unforeseen circumstances, but the insurance industry has been slow to settle these claims, which means the organization would have suffered crippling cash flow problems if the board had not set up the facility. to provide them with a loan that secures the jobs and facilities that residents really rely on, ”she said.
“Now £ 500,000 of this loan facility has been drawn by Active Tameside but it is expected to be repaid and I think I am correct that everything has already been paid when they received a partial settlement from their insurance.
“There is no more money from this advice loaned or given to Active Tameside during this fiscal year.
“Active Tameside is not a failing supplier, but rather a valuable partner providing key public health and recreation services to the borough. “
The meeting was also informed that the long-delayed Hyde Pool extension will be completed by April of this year.
A public consultation has been launched on the first proposals to withdraw Active Tameside services from Adventure Longendale, Active Oxford Park and the Etherow Center.