Incredible Futures failure cost ratepayers over £140,000

The insolvency of social enterprise Incredible Futures in April 2020 cost ratepayers over £140,000 in financial aid; a mistake the Liberal Democrat Leader is adamant must not be repeated.

The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Main Opposition, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, was dismayed to receive the news in the reply to his recent request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Incredible Futures went into liquidation, owing over £44,000 to creditors, despite receiving over £200,000 in financial aid, including £140,000 directly from the coffers of the local authority, and being paid over £100,000 for services rendered. Incredible Futures also benefitted from the use for two years rent-free of premises in Manchester Chambers leased to them by the Council.

Councillor Sykes said: “This is sadly not the first time that a Council-backed social enterprise has failed at great cost to the Oldham ratepayer. In 2015, the retailer Our House also went bankrupt after only a few months despite receiving nearly £125,000 in Council support and the personal backing of then Council Leader.

“I have written to the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance asking for reassurances that lessons have been learned from the Incredible Futures debacle and to identify what additional measures are now in place to ensure greater scrutiny when large Council grants are given to help prevent such a situation happening again. We do not want to be a third time unlucky in backing failure with ratepayers’ cash.”

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