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Richard Farnell challenged over Council banking

February 25, 2017 10:57 AM
Local Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Andy Kelly has called on council leader Richard Farnell to explain why the Council has abandoned the Co-operative Bank and chosen Barclays. Councillor Kelly's challenge came in the week that Farnell was elected as national vice-chairman of the Co-operative Council's Innovation Network. Labour-run Manchester City Council, a Council with a much larger budget, has remained loyal to the Co-operative Bank.
Councillor Kelly said: "Much is made of Rochdale being the birth of the 'Co-op movement'. I think residents will be alarmed that the Council has ended its relationship with the bank and gone with Barclays. This is especially surprising as Manchester City Council still banks with them. I'd like to know the reasoning behind the decision and whether it offers better value for money for the taxpayer. If the Council has a legitimate reason then Manchester City Council has questions to answer. Much has been made of the growing relationship with Greater Manchester authorities. Next year sees the election of the first elected Mayor, and of course the Greater Manchester Combined Authorities is growing in influence. Especially it's attempt to re-designate our green belt for development."
Rochdale Council had a longstanding relationship with the Co-operative Bank. Its ex-Chairman was a former Rochdale Labour Councillor. Paul Flowers was forced to resign as non-executive chairman in 2013 after a number of scandals. It is understood that the decision to bank with Barclays has caused controversy within the local Rochdale Labour Party.
Councillor Kelly said: "Our links with co-operatives is slowly being eroded. Lately, we've seen the Council turning down a bid from co-operative traders to run our market, preferring to give the business to a company down south. I've no idea whether he receives any salary for his new role as Vice-Chairman of the Co-operative Council's Innovation Network but he certainly doesn't practice what he preaches."