Portsmouth City Council agrees to look again at decision for to scrap Victory Energy and write off £3.5m

Portsmouth City Council's Victory Energy company may yet be resurrected - even though there are claims it could lose the council money Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Portsmouth City Council's Victory Energy company may yet be resurrected - even though there are claims it could lose the council money Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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THE controversial decision to scrap a multimillion-pound energy company will be taken back to the drawing board following a unanimous vote by councillors.  

Last month the Lib Dem cabinet pulled the plug on Portsmouth City Council-owned Victory Energy believing it would not be financially viable or in the best interest of its potential customers.

At this point the council had invested more than £1m in the company with additional costs around contracts and developing the company thought to bring the total to around £3.5m of taxpayers' money.

READ MORE: More than £2m lost as Portsmouth City Council scraps Victory Energy

But former leader, Tory Cllr Donna Jones, lambasted the move and called in the decision to be discussed at a scrutiny management panel held yesterday, claiming that the Lib Dems had not properly considered all the information provided by independent reviewers such as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Baringa.

Speaking at the meeting she said: 'I think it is clear that we can see through not my opinion but that of experts, three experts, that this is an investable business.

'More importantly it's about  how the administration made statements and decided to wind up Victory based on misleading and unfactual statements.'

In rebuttal council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: 'This is all about interpretation. There is no disagreement between councillors that the written evidence we were given was wrong or that any more was needed.

'But I am happy for this to come back to the cabinet and if people have more information for us to see we will look at it.

'This is a judgement call about whether we continue with this. It might make profit, it might make loss. We don't know.'

After more than three hours of discussions the panel voted to take the matter back to cabinet on the grounds that the decision was taken without adequate information.

Cllr Jones added: 'I was simply requesting that this was taken back to the cabinet.

'And I am very grateful to Cllr Vernon-Jackson for saying he is happy to do so. The biggest risk is not with the company going forward but it is the decision to flush £3.5m down the toilet, which is money not that we might lose but that we will lose.'

The new decision on the future of Victory Energy will be made at the next cabinet meeting.