Blackburn bus station actually cost £8.3m, not the £5m that had been thought. This is £3.6m more than the original £4.7m budget.
Labour’s Exec Member for Regeneration, Cllr Phil Riley, has blamed the huge £3.6m overspend on changing contractor midway through the project. But at the time the contractor was changed, in June 2015, Cllr Riley said “The project remains within its original budget and there are no extra liabilities to Blackburn with Darwen council as a result of this change”.
What Cllr Riley is saying now and what he said in 2015 cannot both be true.
The true cost of the bus station was only uncovered by a Freedom of Information request from the Taxpayers’ Alliance. As the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “Not only has the council failed to be open and honest about the true cost of the project, it has also lumbered taxpayers with the cost of fixing the bus station for years to come”.
The bare minimum that should be expected of public authorities is that they are open and honest about how your money is being spent.