Sunderland Council refuse to reveal cost of renting new Civic Centre offices
By Ciaran Morrissey
Opposition Liberal Democrats on Wearside have said people will wonder what Sunderland Council has to hide, after they refused to say how much taxpayers' money will be spent renting new Civic Centre offices on the Vaux site.
It was announced recently that Sunderland City Council will rent new office space in the planned City Hall building on the Vaux site from company Legal and General.
The decision led Wearside Liberal Democrats to ask how much Council Tax payers' will be paying to rent new office space - but the Council has refused to do so saying the information is "commercially sensitive".
Commenting, Lib Dem spokesperson for Hendon and Grangetown Ciaran Morrissey said:
"Council tax payers will wonder what Sunderland Council has to hide here. The Council's Civic Centre bosses are trying to claim that their new offices will cost taxpayers nothing - but these claims show that they are trying to take Mackems for fools.
"Of course there will be a cost of renting new council office on the Vaux site. Their refusal to tell us how much this will be will only make people wonder what they have to hide.
"They should commit now to full transparency and tell us how many millions of pounds it is expected to cost the taxpayer to rent this new office space on the Vaux site over the next few decades.
"Local Lib Dems fear that this will end up being another disastrous PFI-style arrangement where costs will skyrocket in future years leaving the Council no option but to pay rip-off prices. We maintain that the Council could use existing empty buildings and office space across the city instead of wasting money renting plush new offices for themselves because they have failed to attract any private businesses to the Vaux site."