Minister admits to Dome solvency error

The minister for transport, local government and the regions delivered a personal statement in which he admitted: ‘In fact, there was a period, as PricewaterhouseCoopers advised the [New Millennium Experience Company] in the summer of 2000, when there was a need for a further Millennium Commission grant.

‘Until the Millennium Commission confirmed the grant there was a technical insolvency.’

Falconer made the original claim in reply to a question from former Tory chairman and cabinet minister Lord Tebbit who had insisted: ‘The Dome is insolvent and has been since its inception. Why do you not face up to it?’

The minister then replied: ‘The Dome is not insolvent. NMEC at all stages traded entirely solvently and paid all its creditors. We are now talking about what should be done with the Dome building. The building itself cannot be insolvent. We are looking at whether a future can be found for the Dome. I believe that it can.’

In his statement, Falconer said he would like to take the first opportunity to put the record straight.

He said that because the commission made the further grant available on 5 September 2000 ‘the insolvency never crystalised and all creditors have been paid’.

He said his earlier reply had been ‘unintentionally incorrect’ because it did not refer to that period and added: ‘I apoligise for the mistake, which was entirely my responsibility.’


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