This was the dream of a new Chinatown. It was a great concept, which the Lib Dems supported at the planning stage, but was badly implemented and may cause major problems for all investment in the City
I am delighted that Liverpool’s Lib Dem Deputy Leader, Cllr Andrew Makinson, has tabled a motion for the next meeting of the Council’s Finance & Audit Committee demanding public and transparent investigation into the Council’s role in pushing property investments globally and particularly into the China and Honk Kong area.
The motion calls for the establishment of an all-party committee to take evidence in public about all aspects of the council’s role. It also calls for a publicly available report with both the committee and the report only doing things in private for genuine legal or commercial reasons. The motion calls for the establishment of a confidential hotline for distressed investors so that the Council can both find the extent of the problem and try and find ways of assisting people who appear to have lost a lot of money.
Cllr Makinson says, “It is important that the Council acts quickly and publicly if we are to restore investor confidence in the City. This is particularly important for things like the Everton stadium which is, we understand, dependent on Chinese money and is a cornerstone of our Commonwealth Games bid. All banks in China are interconnected and partly government controlled – a bad reputation there could damage so much of the goodwill for the City which has built up over the past 15 years.
Before we do anything else or go one more time to China we must look inside the council and examine what we did and whether we have the competence to handle big projects”.
The Full motion to the Committee submitted by Cllr Makinson is appended
Motion to Audit and Finance Committee
Cllr Andrew Makinson:
This Committee notes with concern the financial and reputational problems which have been caused to the City of Liverpool by certain property developers. It further notes that the Council is almost certain to have lost almost £1 million as North Point Global is being placed into administration and that the first charge on any assets are held by banks.
It recognises that this could have a knock-on effect on other future investments in the City which are dependent on Chinese investment.
It therefore resolves to establish a Scrutiny Committee composed of members of all Parties represented on the City Council which, wherever possible, will meet and take evidence in public. Its report to made publicly available subject to the redaction of parts which could be considered to be in commercial confidence and that the Committee be asked to:
- Make clear the role Liverpool Council has had in marketing and establishing this venture.
- Establish whether the Council has the experience and capacity to involve itself in major projects of this nature.
- Consider how much has been spent on visits to Hong Kong and China in the past two years; how much these have cost and the value to the Council in terms of outputs from them.
- Ensure that external legal advice has been taken from specialist lawyers about any contingent liability.
- Establish a help line for distressed investors of these and other developments to see what the council can do to assist them and to understand the full extent of the problems that have been created for global investors in the City.