Calls for Manchester Highways bosses to step down after financial coverup loses £20m of public money

Manchester's Highways Department is at the centre of yet another storm today after the Liberal Democrats called for the "incompetent" Executive Members to "get a grip or stand aside."

Earlier this year, the Liberal Democrats revealed that top-level incompetence in the town hall resulted in nearly £20m being wiped from this year's £60m Highways Budget.

In a bruising speech to the town hall, Manchester Liberal Democrat leader John Leech said:

"Back in July, the Executive reported there would be £17.6m underspend on the highways budget as a result of failing to programme work.

"When this report came to the Executive it was reported that the underspend had been massively reduced, except that wasn't actually the case.

"Rather than admit that there was now a £20m underspend in the Highways budget, Councillor Carl Ollerhead (the Executive Member for Finance) presented a report that fiddled the figures, or as he likes to say "reprofiled" the figures, to try and hide the fact that between him and Executive Member for Highways, they had managed to ensure that nearly half of the money - a huge £13m - will no longer be spent.

"When I challenged the report, rather than apologising for their complete incompetence, both the Executive Member for Finance and the Executive Member for Highways tried to blame the Government for not providing enough money to fix the roads, despite the fact that they have proved themselves incapable of spending the money that the Council has borrowed to fix the roads.

"Isn't it time for Councillor Ollerhead and Councillor Stogia to get a grip on the highways budget and stop blaming everyone else for their incompetence, or to stand aside and let someone else deal with the mess that they have created in the highways programme?"

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