Committee Critical of Translink Transparency

Synopsis: The Committee for Regional Development has criticised the Department for Regional Development and Translink for the lack of transparency over the level of reserves held by Translink.

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 05 June 2013

Reference: CRD 06/12/13

The Committee for Regional Development has criticised the Department for Regional Development and Translink for the lack of transparency over the level of reserves held by Translink.

Speaking during the meeting, Chairperson of the Committee, Jimmy Spratt MLA, said: "Last week, we asked the Minister and his senior officials to tell us what level of reserves were held by Translink and we were, quite frankly, stone-walled. We were finally told that a figure of £8m for this financial year was in addition to the reserves of previous years.

"The Committee has examined Translink's accounts for 2012 and can see that it had total reserves of £19m. However, the accounts also indicate that it has 'other reserves' of £50 million but does not state to where or what these refer. In addition, they had £10.55m in cash held at the end of 2012 and £13.5m in short term deposits. They were also able to clear a bank overdraft of £31m which was held at the end of 2011. We also note the potential deficit relating to the pension schemes. Again, no explanation has been offered or given in respect of these amounts.

"This is an organisation that has just raised bus and train fares by up to 8%; an organisation that has asked the Department to bid for another £12 million for new buses; an organisation that has £19 million in reserves and £24 million in cash and an organisation that is going to be guaranteed a lucrative contract for the next ten years."

Mr Spratt concluded: "This Committee takes its scrutiny role very seriously and will not be found wanting when it comes to breaking the cosy relationship between the Department and Translink or in holding either to account. We will be issuing the Minister and his officials with a series of questions that we expect to be urgently answered in a clear and unambiguous manner."

ENDS

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