Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham admits he has found no precedent for government incinerator fiasco bail out

File photo dated 15/12/11 of former Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham, the chairman of an an all-party group on the Commonwealth who has said that most Gambian ministers are pro-Commonwealth but have been subject to the actions of an File photo dated 15/12/11 of former Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham, the chairman of an an all-party group on the Commonwealth who has said that most Gambian ministers are pro-Commonwealth but have been subject to the actions of an "erratic" president. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday October 4, 2013. See PA story POLITCS Gambia. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
11:50 PM

Norfolk County Council has urged MPs to get the government to help cover the incinerator compensation bill – but MP Henry Bellingham, pictured, has admitted he has found no precedent.

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George Nobbs, Labour leader of the council, has written to the North West Norfolk MP and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss to ask that they take action to stave off further “painful cuts” to services after Mr Bellingham previously said he would mobilise the county’s MPs to seek help if the county council made a formal request.

Mr Nobbs has urged them to convince the government to part with a grant to cover the £30m compensation cost the authority is likely to have to pay Cory Wheelabrator for terminating the contract for the Saddlebow burner.

He said: “Over the course of this saga, you have suggested on a number of occasions that the government may help to mitigate the financial impact of a contract termination on Norfolk’s public services.”

The council will have to pay an estimated £8.36m within two weeks – because termination has triggered payment to the banks to mitigate foreign exchange and interest rates risks. The capped compensation cost of £20.3m and the £1.6m costs relating to the public inquiry would have to be paid in just over 50 days.

Mr Bellingham said he would refer the matter to the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Treasury. But questioned on whether there is any precedent, Mr Bellingham said: “I have researched and I can’t point to an immediate one. All of these things are done on a case by case basis. There is not a case in the courts, or regulation in local authority statute which says ‘if the government takes away money or the local authority in question wants to take out a loan it can do so under a certain regulation’.

“If the government takes money away, even with good reason, it puts a local authority under pressure, so that is a factor. The other factor is whether a local authority, in this case, has got itself into a muddle. The government might turn round and say it is entirely their own fault, but there is a muddle here and the government is the lender of last resort and also has the power to make money available.”

The letter from Mr Nobbs said: “I am now asking formally, on behalf of the people of Norfolk, that you make the necessary contacts at government to make this a reality. I have copied in to this letter all Norfolk’s MPs who may, I hope, be willing to act in concert with you on this matter to secure additional funding that may avoid the authority having to make further painful cuts to front-line services. We ask that support should come in the form of a grant – not borrowing approval – given that the authority is already facing significant reductions in revenue income. Adding to the burden of debt for future generations should not be an option in these very difficult circumstances.”

5 comments

  • Well said Jeffrey, its becoming clear that Norfolk is an electoral target for the Tory's. But its confusing because both politcal party dinosaurs are feeling the heat from UKIP, and rightly so, they have brought their own demise upon them by forcing their agenda's on to the electorate. Ideally we should select a group of Independents standing up but there is nothing to stop all those who are concerned standing themselves in the forthcoming District elections.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • Yes, sweetcheeks, he certainly has a funny way of approaching people for a huge favour! It is usually better to be nice to them before you stick your paw out for £30 million.

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    alecto

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • Jeffrey Osborne I haven't fotgotten, the senior Tories at NCC should be made to stand down as there actions were unforgivable. K.nobbs should of acted in May as he promised instead of doing a U turn.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • K.nobbs has slated the MP's and now he wants there help. Perhaps he should make a public apologie to all of them and then try and work with them.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • I notice the EDP has not reported Derrick Murphy's comments on Radio Norfolk yesterday which put the blame firmly at the Tory governments door. He even seems to agree with Nobbs that this was a political delay. Sweetcheeks, you forget the Tories are out of power for their handling of the situation. George Nobbs was only saying what voters thought when they voted for the other parties last year.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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