Letter to my MP no 11

Letter to Mike Amesbury no 11

Dear Mike Amesbury,

Can you please give me clarity on the following two issues?

In respect of the demise of Halton Borough Transport Company on the 24 January this year I would like your answers and or opinions on the following.

 With losses of £361k in 2017/18 and assets value of £269k to losses of £691k and assets value of minus £350K in 2018/19. Why was Halton tax payers put at risk of losing a further £750k in July 2019 with an agrees loan sanctioned by the Council with Councillors on the board of Directors.

What fees and remunerations were received by the Councillors on the board of Directors. Were any pension funds allocated to any Councillors on the board.

Will any pension liabilities be transferred to the council tax payers of HBC. I am a regular user of buses in Halton and have been for a number of years. As you may be aware or not, there was a number of Halton transport buses that were not comfortable or user friendly for disabled and older passengers, HT Environ 200s and in particular the HT Scania OmniCity buses were exceptionally bouncy. Their value must be scrap or just above scrap value.

What is the total cost perceived to be for Halton council tax payer of this debacle.

I believe one of my Labour Councillors was on the board of directors, was also on the council transport committee.

My second issue is:

Halton BC paid Threadneedle Pensions Ltd a business rate refund of £67,000 in May this year. Threadneedle don’t list any Halton properties in their UK Property Authorised Investment Fund report.

When the council is struggling for money and Halton is one of the poorest Boroughs in the Country, what’s it all about. Is not all property taxed empty or not and where is this unregistered property in Halton.

Threadneedle Pensions Limited has been running for 50 years with the registered office located in London.

Threadneedle’s ultimate parent company is Ameriprise Financial, Inc. Ameriprise Financial, Inc. is a diversified financial services company and bank holding company incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It provides financial planning products and services, including wealth management, asset management, insurance, annuities, and estate planning.

In 2019, over 85% of the company’s revenues came from wealth management, over 12 billion dollars.

The company’s primary subsidiaries include Ameriprise Financial Services, RiverSource Life Insurance Company, and Threadneedle Investments, its global asset management brand, and a provider of investments to institutional and retail clients. Ameriprise was formerly a division of American Express, offices in every country in the world.

The company specializes in retirement-related financial planning for relatively well-off clients.

Yours sincerely,

REPLY

Dear Mr Owen,

Many thanks for contacting me in relation to your concerns regarding the collapse of Halton Transport and concerns over business rates relief provided to Threadneedle Pensions Ltd. 

In regard to your first inquiry, the issue surrounding Halton Transport’s collapse is now subject to a public inquiry which is yet to report its findings. However, given that the figures you raise are well established in the public domain, I have taken the opportunity to write to David Parr (Chief Executive of Halton Borough Council) in the hope that he or his team will be able to provide you with a more direct and detailed response.

The second case you raise is the direct responsibility of Halton Council and I have also written to David regarding your concerns on this matter as well.

I will be in touch with you once again, as soon as I receive a response back from Mr Parr. 

Yours Sincerely,

Mike Amesbury MP
Labour MP for Weaver Vale
Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning