A LEADING councillor has blasted Herefordshire Council for having a similar agreement with its highways contractor as the government had with the Brexit ferry firm with no ships.

Vice-chairman Phil Edwards has been chasing officers for information since October on what council-owned machinery is used by its roads contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places.

Speaking at last week’s full council meeting, he said the grounds contractor had no tractor or mower and drew comparisons with the now axed no-deal Brexit contract with a ferry company which had no ships.

He also said the contract between the local authority and the roads company was ‘poorly managed’.

“Landlock Herefordshire’s grounds contractor without tractor and mower could be described in a similar vein as a national ‘would be’ ferry contractor without ships,” he said.

Councillor Edwards had asked what vehicles and machines were owned by the council in relation to the Balfour Beatty contract.

Transport and regulatory services cabinet member Barry Durkin said: “As you will appreciate, there is a significant amount of machinery and vehicles the council owns in relation to the BBLP contract.”

He did not provide a list of council-owned machinery but instead told coun Edwards to contact a council officer to provide the relevant asset register.

However, having done this, coun Edwards says he is yet to receive a response.

He asked: “How can this contract between Herefordshire Council and its contractor Balfour Beatty be so poorly managed that council’s purchase of a new tractor valued at around £100,000 not be listed as a council purchased asset?”

He also asked why the purchase of road gritter trucks and a pothole blaster truck had not reduced the contract costs.

Coun Durkin replied: “I do take exception to the term ‘poorly managed contract’.

“I don’t believe it is poorly managed. It is looked at every year and differences and concerns are addressed.”