Council chiefs say they could stop paying a troubled cinemas wage bill if the management doesn’t discuss its financial position with them.
Denbighshire County Council says the Scala cinema and arts centre in Prestatyn owes the authority £60,000 in wage debts, as well as £80,000 of a one-off loan.
At present, the council administers the Scala’s payroll, and also provides them with two months leeway on their payroll payments, which amount to £20,000 a month. But the council says it cant continue to make up the shortfall if they don’t sit down to talk.
Councillor Huw Jones, cabinet lead member for leisure, said:
“Its very difficult, they’ve had meetings, but the only things I know about it I read in the Daily Post. Its frightening to be honest with you, because if we know the situation they’re in, why cant they ask what we can do, how we can help? At the end of the day, they’ve gone three months. I’m responsible for public money as a councillor, but surely, the third month will turn into the fourth month. What do I do next? Am I going to be the scrooge and say no? Because there’s Christmas coming, and we wont pay their wages, or will I breach my own rules? Unless they come back and explain the situation to us, we’re really in a quandary.”
The council owns the Scala building, but the centre is operated by a separate charitable organisation.
The organisations general manager Chris Bond was approached for comment but declined to do so.
Rebecca Maxwell, Denbighshire’s corporate director for economic and community ambition, said:
“The council cannot continue to put at risk large sums of money to underpin the Scala’s financial deficit. Clearly there’s a limit to how much we can continue to support an independent organisation and still provide best value for residents. We value the facility, but we cant afford to subsidise the company.”