Here's why Scarborough Council accounts have not been signed off for five years

A ruling on a long-running legal challenge that has led to Scarborough Council’s accounts not being signed off for the last five years has yet to be handed down

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 4:44 pm
Whitby harbour.
Whitby harbour.

The council’s 2017/18, 2016/17 and 2015/16 accounts have been held up as the authority is locked in a legal battle with a group of residents over how it classifies income and expenditure from Whitby harbour.

The delays then hit the 2018/19 accounts - and the row has now stretched into 2021.

Today, the authority’s auditors Mazars, said that it was still finalising its Statement of Reasons setting out its determination of the objection following comments received from Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) body.

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Mark Kirkham, partner at Mazars told a meeting of the council’s Audit Committee today that: “We are further forward in that we are in the final stage of review before a Statement of Reasons is issued but I can’t tell you when that will be.”

The challenge has come from the Fight4Whitby pressure group which launched a legal challenge in 2016 citing the 1905 Whitby Urban District Council Act, which stated that income from Whitby harbour must be ring-fenced for use within the harbour.

Mazars has previously said that it has been required to examine financial statements of the council from every year since its formation in 1974 and study several pieces of legislation, including one that dates back to 1861.

Scarborough Council has always denied the claims of the Fight 4 Whitby Group.

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