Barnet Council – Icelandic Banks

Colleagues You will have received the First Team email sent out to all staff from the Chief Executive this morning in response to what has been reported in the Press this morning Barnet UNISON welcomes the reassurance given that the financial position of these Icelandic Banks will not have an impact the Council’s ability to pay bills, pensions or salaries. Clearly this is affecting other Councils and a number of them in London: Barnet Council: £27m Hillingdon Council: £20m Westminster City Council: £17m Brent Council: £15m Havering Council: £12.5m Sutton Council: £5.5m Haringey Council: unconfirmed Bromley Council: unconfirmed Transport for London (TfL):£40m Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA): £30m We understand the Council along with a number of other Councils are seeking an urgent meeting with the Chancellor Alistair Darling to request protection for councils as has been given to personal customers of IceSave and other failed Icelandic banks. Barnet UNISON fully expects to hear the Chancellor provide confirmation that all Councils will be covered and end the insecurity/anxiety this news has caused. It is inconceivable that the Government ‘bail out’ the Private Sector and refuse to offer the same level of support for the ‘Public Sector’. It is good to see UNISON HQ issue a Press release today urging the government to “protect local authorities from losing millions of council taxpayers’ money held in failing Icelandic banks” (full article click here) What about our Pension Funds? Inevitably our Pension funds have been exposed to significant risks especially over the last few months. We have asked for an urgent update on our Pension Fund investments. Contractors Like most Councils we have a number of contractors providing services for Barnet Council. We have asked for a copy of the risk assessment carried out in relation to our contractors. Clearly they are also at risk. If some of our contractors are unable to comply with their contractual obligations; it is important that plans are in place to ensure the Council is able to continue to serve the residents of Barnet. Future Shape Over the last two months as the global financial crisis has unravelled on a daily basis members have asked: ‘why are the Council considering going into partnerships with the private sector?’ It is a good point and one that has been made in many of our weekly meetings. In light of recent events and lack of any sign of economic stability we are asking for a postponement of any Future Shape proposals involving the private sector. To read newsletter click here