AN auditor has confirmed the sign-off of the council’s 2017-18 accounts has been postponed until February.

The council paid around £30 million to buy a 33 per cent share in Redwood Bank – before investing a further £2 million last year.

But it failed to sign off its 2017-18 statement of accounts before the deadline of July 31 in 2018 due to a valid objection questioning whether the investment was legal.

As reported in September 2020, auditor Grant Thornton found no ‘clear evidence’ that the Labour-run authority acted unlawfully in making the investment.

Grant Thornton is the authority’s independent external auditor.

But the accounts have still not been signed off following significant delays.

In an audit progress report for this week’s audit and corporate governance committee meeting on Thursday, Grant Thornton confirms the sign-off of the audit of the council’s 2017-18 accounts has been postponed until February.

This is because it is ‘unable to finalise’ the audit until it receives further information from the council’s management in relation to the council’s investment into Together Energy.

Asked whether it is concerned about these further delays to the 2017-18 accounts being signed off, the council says it is ‘not concerned’.

Furthermore, the Labour-run authority said it believes the 2017-18 accounts will be signed off when the auditor receives this further information about its investment into Together Energy.

On Monday, Sky News reported that Together Energy is lining up administrators amid suggestions that it could collapse as soon as this week.

The town’s Conservatives, the Opposition group on the council, are calling for an urgent council meeting to discuss Together Energy.

The party wants a meeting to discuss the risks posed to council finances and local services by the potential failure of the investment into Together Energy.

The Warrington Guardian understands the council has agreed for a meeting to discuss governance and its level of debt, which is set to take place next month.