CHESHIRE East Council is not at risk of going 'bankrupt' and if it did ever have to trigger a S114 notice suppliers and staff would be paid, the finance sub-committee chair said.

Cllr Nick Mannion (Lab) was speaking at today’s (Thursday) meeting of the corporate policy committee where the council’s finances were being discussed.

The Macclesfield councillor congratulated officers on bringing down the predicted end-of-year overspend to £13m at the end of quarter three – it had been forecast at £18.7m at the end of the second quarter of the financial year.

“So we’ve been travelling for the last six months very much in the right direction,” he said.

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Nick MannionCllr Nick Mannion (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Mannion then hit out at media reports using the word ‘bankruptcy’.

“One word that hasn’t been used this morning, but is being used ad nauseum in the local media, and that’s the word ‘bankruptcy’,” he said.

“This council is not at risk of going bankrupt.

“I have received emails, both as a ward member and in my capacity as chair of the finance sub-committee, from staff and from suppliers to the council and I have assured them that if the council ever went into S114 that is not bankrupt.

“Our assets considerably exceed our liabilities, and suppliers and staff will be paid and that is the case for every local authority that has regrettably had to go into S114.”

He added: “I hope our friends in the media take that on board and, to some extent, moderate their language and stop using the term ‘bankruptcy’.”

A number of councils have issued S114 notices across the country.

These include Birmingham, Northamptonshire and Thurrock.

A S114 notice can be triggered when a council’s spending decisions could exceed the available resources of the council.

Under these circumstances statutory services would continue and existing contracts and commitments must be honoured.

But any spending that is not essential or which can be postponed must not take place.

Further consequences could include the appointment of commissioners from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, (DLUHC), and potential restrictions on the decision-making powers of local leaders.