Calls for release of report into Keighley council’s ‘reckless spending’

A CAMPAIGNER who helped expose potentially unlawful practices at a Yorkshire council has called for a confidential audit report into the wrongdoing to be made public.

Kris Hopkins MP

Elizabeth Mitchell, a Keighley resident who formed a campaign group to look into Keighley Town Council’s governance, wants a more detailed report to be put before electors in the town.

A 13-page audit report has been made public but a more in-depth one remains private.

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The shorter version criticises the authority for failing to properly monitor council payments to family members of councillors and council employees.

It also picked up on inadequate documentation relating to cash receipts.

The report says the council may have acted unlawfully by trading via the museum shop in the civic centre and in giving a loan to an unincorporated association.

Mrs Mitchell, who used her accountancy skills to go through town council accounts, has written to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities, to ask for the full report to be released.

She said that “the real extent of mismanagement” is contained in the detailed report.

Her comments have been supported by the town’s Conservative MP Kris Hopkins, who has called for a police investigation into the “reckless and arrogant” spending.

Mr Hopkins said yesterday: “I see no reason why the full report should not be released. Keighley Town Council must now make effort to restore public confidence and, equally importantly, be seen to be making that effort.

“Giving Keighley residents the opportunity to read the warts-and-all version of what went on would certainly be a positive step. The days of obstruction and obfuscation must come to end.”

Councillor Javaid Akhtar, deputy mayor of the town council, apologised to the ratepayers yesterday.

“The people of Keighley have the right to expect transparency, good governance and accountability from their Town Council elected representatives,” he said.