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Newham Council rejects call for further action against banks on lobos

PUBLISHED: 09:39 12 July 2016 | UPDATED: 13:08 12 July 2016

Lobos have been a source of controversy for Newham Council over the last year

Lobos have been a source of controversy for Newham Council over the last year

Archant

The council opted to block any further action against Lobo loans at a full council meeting at Newham Town Hall.

Deputy mayor Cllr Lester Hudson was questioned by Cllr John Gray over whether the council would take Barclays Bank to court after employees were found criminally guilty of conspiring to rig the Libor interest rate between 2005 and 2008.

Cllr Gray said: “This was precisely the same time that Barclays sold £238m of so-called “range lobos” loans to Newham Council.”

However, Cllr Hudson said that most of the loans the council had taken out had a clause written into the contract to protect from excessive cost.

He added that ‘Libor affects everyone’ and that Newham Council could not afford to pay “the hiring of experts from the city”.

He said: “It is going to costs us millions to do this. I just do not think it is fair. Why should the council taxpayers of Newham do this?”

He was challenged by Cllr Gray who said the council had been offered a chance to be “introduced” to legal experts who could operate on a no-win, no-fee basis.

Cllr Hudson replied: “I am deeply suspicious of people who offer a free lunch.”

A petition signed by more than 700 people requesting further action by Newham Council against lobo loans was also handed to council representatives.

Speaking to the Recorder afterwards, Cllr Gray said he was “disappointed” by the outcome.

He said: “We have the advice of experts who say there is an argument for a case.”

The meeting was also attended by environmentalist Joel Benjamin and Green Party member Elisabeth Whitebread who initiated the campaign.

She said the campaigners would now move to discuss the case with “councillors individually”.

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