Barlow's Beef: Another stunning £800k loss from Cheshire East


I was somewhat taken aback by the news emanating from the hallowed halls of Cheshire East this week:

Cheshire East Council has entered into an agreement with Staffordshire and Moorlands District Council to enable the two authorities to assist each other with building regulations applications.

Civicance, a wholly-owned company of Cheshire East Council, which provides building control, planning support and address management, will be the Cheshire East component of the partnership.

Unless members of Staffordshire and Moorlands District are imbibing illegal substances why would they think a partnership with a council who blew over £1M on an ill-conceived unapproved waste transfer station then botched their own Local Plan so badly it had to be withdrawn was just the organisation to provide assistance with building control, planning support and regulation applications?

Next up from Cheshire East was another strange announcement to wit:

Cheshire East Council is to create a new flagship company to promote eco-efficient district heating networks in the Borough.

The Council is to team up with ENGIE, a global player in the development of renewable energy generation including geothermal.

The new company will be called Cheshire Energy Networks Ltd.

Council Leader Rachel Bailey said: "The establishment of Cheshire Energy Networks Ltd, in partnership with ENGIE, ensures that Cheshire East Council is in a strong position to secure a low-carbon future for the Borough.

"I applaud the previous work completed to get the project to this stage, which ensures Cheshire East is in the vanguard of district heating in the UK."

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel do you not read the news? Maybe you've been too busy so let me bring you up to speed.

As you were 'applauding all the previous work completed to get to this stage' CoSocius, a company jointly owned by Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester councils to provide IT and HR services, were winding up after making huge losses.

Somehow CoSocius managed to clock up an operating loss of £800,000 in eleven months plus a pension deficit of £8.5M.

Now, I don't know if that's some kind of record failure for a council selling it's wares? If not it's a damn good effort.

Had you gone to any UK financial institution to secure backing for Cheshire Energy Networks Ltd the first question that bank would ask would have been the performance of previous ventures to which you, Rachel, would reply: "We made a thumping great loss."

"How long were you operating?" would be the next question after which you would be shown the door and advised to seek backing from The Peoples Bank of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kurdistan or anywhere else ending in 'stan'.

Truth is, Rachel, the commercial competence of Cheshire East is, how shall I put it? On a par with Jamaica's ski jump team.

Unfortunately (for residents) you don't need to seek financial backing from banks you simply take it from taxpayers. Speaking as one of those taxpayers I'd like you to refrain.

Look Rachel, I am sure you mean well and as new leader of this delusional regime you may harbour a genuine desire to save taxpayers money so...stop throwing it away.

Concentrate on emptying bins and repairing potholes, maybe switch the street lights on when it's dark and stuff like that. When we think you are ready to move up we'll let you know.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

John Hannah
Tuesday 12th April 2016 at 9:27 am
The loss was twice as bad £1.7m and the pension deficit was over £10m ...both costs now falling back on residents ;
When will local authorities close unsustainable pension schemes and give up these crazy attempts to compete with private sector companies who are themselves ratepayers?

Stick to the basics and control costs please Cheshire East.
Adrian Scott
Tuesday 12th April 2016 at 4:37 pm
Well done VIc. !! How these people become: 1.Elected and 2. Allowed to waste our hard earned money, is beyond the belief of normal residents. Perhaps they are all budding, delusional, power mad "Sally Websters" in which case they should stay at home and watch what happens to her onTV.
Ian Cook
Tuesday 12th April 2016 at 6:06 pm
Nothing that comes out of CEC shocks me..... its just another fine mess you've gotten us into! So how with such a poor track record do we still manage to appear to be the lead party in all these joint ventures...... please, lets see if others have a little more business acumen.