A suggestion by mayor Joe Anderson (Lab) that Liverpool City Council could fund the whole £500m project to build Everton Football Club’s new stadium would be “lunacy”.
Richard Kemp, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool City Council, said he reacted with “horror” to the news that the council could fund in its entirety Everton’s proposed move from Goodison Park to Bramley Moore Dock on the waterfront.
Mr Anderson, an Everton fan, has already proposed putting £280m towards the project in the form of a loan which will be repaid to the local authority over 25 years. The council will earn about £7m a year in interest over the course of the deal – money which will help fund services. However, Everton would still need to find about £220m in private investment but that is not certain to materialise.
In an interview with Liverpool Business Network (LBN) last week Mr Anderson said a “plan b” scenario could see the council fund the whole project.
“There is an open door to the possibility – it is not ruled out,” Mr Anderson reportedly told LBN.
Should that happen the terms of the deal would be “completely different” but he added Everton are “still confident they can raise the money” they need for the project.
In a letter to Mr Anderson, Cllr Kemp said: “If the private sector is not prepared to put money in to this project it would only be for one reason, that they did not consider the project to be viable. In that case it would be lunacy for the council to take on the whole of this debt.”
Cllr Kemp has requested the matter be discussed at either a special full council meeting, or at the annual meeting of full council.