A SENIOR Conservative councillor has questioned whether a council is on the verge of major financial problems.

Blackburn with Darwen opposition leader Cllr John Slater raised the issue of the borough’s financial stability at the authority’s executive board meeting on Thursday night.

He quizzed council finance boss Cllr Vicky McGurk on figures included in a report on the borough’s capital budget and balance sheet.

Cllr Slater asked: “According to this paper, borrowing is £311 million against investments of £46 million. What are the total assets of Blackburn with Darwen in cash terms?

“Simply put, are we solvent or insolvent at this present time on the balance sheet?”

Cllr McGurk said: “John because of the level of detail of the question, I want to get you a full answer so I’d like to be able to write to you and the executive members with a full answer that’s fully detailed to give you assurances of that particular question.”

Cllr Slater then asked: “Just one more while we're on there, the council tax arrears are £14, 443,000. How much of this money do we think is going to be recoverable in the present climate and how much do you think we’re going to have to write off?"

Cllr McGurk replied: “The government announced recently that we were able to recover money over a three year period with regard to some debts including council tax.

“So far we are not too far off track with regards to where we were this time last year with regards to collection of revenues.

“We’re hoping to get the majority of it back this year but we have got some allowances from the government.”