Sun. Jun 26th, 2022

Liverpool Council paid just over £2.2m to a community trust in Croxteth.

Last year the ECHO reported how the council paid £1,277,591 to a group of companies in Everton and Croxteth between 2013 and 2020.

A response by Liverpool Council to a Freedom of Information Act request included a payment of £811,933.86 to Alt Valley Community Trust (AVCT.)

READ MORE: Update on council’s Joe Anderson legal fees decision

Phil Knibb is AVCT’s chief executive officer. AVCT’s trustees are listed as Roy Meredith, Lesley Baugh, Gerry Brennan, Joe Donnelly, Tony Jennings, Alma Mason, Dr Brian McDonough, Tony Rimmer and Sheila Sweeney.

However the ECHO can now reveal how Liverpool council paid £2,231,065.00 to AVCT from 2013 to 2020. The largest single payment was for over £600,000 in 2018.

The information was published in AVCT’s annual accounts on Companies House.

The payments were £237,971 in 2013; £201,634 in 2014; £300,405 in 2015; £307,122 in 2016; £105,044 in 2017; £619,221 in 2018; £170,040 in 2019 and £289,628 in 2020.

A spokesperson for AVCT said: “I can confirm that the figures in our annual accounts submitted to the Charity Commission and Companies House regarding payments from Liverpool City Council are accurate.”

A Liverpool council spokesman said: “We are reviewing the figures.”

Last year Liverpool council revealed they paid £1,269,513.29 to the network of community trusts across the city between 2013 and 2020.

They revealed the payments in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The question concerned payments to charities and companies associated with Phil and George Knibb.

George Knibb, who has been a Labour councillor for Norris Green since May 2019, has a management role at NLRCO. Cllr Knibb has declared this matter.

The new figures raises the total sum paid to the network of connected charities to £2,696,722.63 between 2013 and 2020.

The ECHO reported on the payments last November.

However an inspection of their accounts by the ECHO revealed a large disparity between the £811, 933.86 which the council said they had paid to AVCT.

However last week AVCT confirmed the accounts were accurate, and that they had received £2,231,065.00 from the council between 2013 and 2020.

Alt Valley Community Trust, Altcross Road, Croxteth.
Alt Valley Community Trust, Altcross Road, Croxteth.
(Image: Liverpool ECHO)

Last year’s amended response from the council also revealed that AVTC bought Dovecot Multi Activity Centre for £1 on December 2 2016.

AVTC was granted a 30-year-lease to Walton Leisure Centre on April 24 2013 at a peppercorn ground rent [a lower than normal rent].

Last year a spokesperson for AVCT told the ECHO the money they received from Liverpool Council was used to pay for community based activities and services.

Last year the council also revealed they paid £3,709,370.00 to NLRCO during the same time frame. However, the ECHO understands that £3.5m of this money related to the NLRCO for land to make way for the new police headquarters.

The ECHO has previously reported how NLRCO bought the site at Bishop Goss for £125,000 in 1999.

They made a profit of £3,075,000 when they sold the land to Merseyside Police.

The ECHO also revealed how NLRCO lent money to a property company. Information on Companies House reveals a charge, which is a type of mortgage, from GMJM Properties Limited to NLRCO.

Companies House reveals the loan from NLRCO is secured to Pablino’s Bar and Grill, a restaurant on Smithdown Road. NLRCO said they approved a number of peer-to-peer loans to attract a higher rate of interest. They said the loan to GMJM Properties Limited had been repaid.

A spokesperson for AVCT said: “I can confirm that the figures submitted in our audited accounts and filed with Companies House and The Charity Commission are accurate. They were compiled in accordance with financial procedures regulating company law.

“May I reiterate that the discrepancy does not lie with the figures AVCT provided to the regulatory bodies.

“All funding received from Liverpool City Council over the last seven years has been used to support a variety of community- based activities and services including library, sports/ leisure and community centres, education, training and employment provision.

“Like so many other similar organisations within the region we are proud to have developed a positive working relationship with Liverpool City Council. This effective partnership will continue as it has secured improved outcomes and enhanced service provision for local communities.”

According to Companies House NLRCO currently has assets of around £7.9m.

A spokesperson for the North Liverpool Regeneration Company said : “The funding received from Liverpool City Council and the European Social Fund supported over hundreds of hard to reach NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) young people from disadvantaged areas.

“The training provided covered CSCS, first aid, manual handling, fire awareness training and tool kits to progress them onto employment or further training.

“Regarding the £3.8m this has already been covered by the Echo and we can confirm that we continue to give and support good causes from these funds.

“The £7.9m we hold is not cash in the bank but the value of our assets.

“We have already committed £2.8m to good causes including Clare House, various youth clubs and the L6 community.

“The board approved a number of peer to peer loans which attracted a much higher rate of interest.

“This particular loan ( to GMJM Properties Limited) was repaid in full. “

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