The most detailed and comprehensive breakdown of the costs of operating Cowes Floating Bridge 6 has been shared with News OnTheWight, by the Floating Bridge Stakeholders’ and Engineers’ Group.
The documents reveal the most detailed costs up to September 2020 that were not previously known and News OnTheWight will be publishing a number of articles throughout the day looking into those details.
£1.2m lost over last 26 months
By the group crafting and submitting the well-crafted Freedom of Information request, it’s revealed that Cowes Floating Bridge 6 has cost the Isle of Wight council – and therefore tax-payers – almost £1.2m in the last 26 months, over and above the income it’s brought in.
Floating Bridge 5 used to be profitable
The previous version, Floating Bridge 5, used to make a profit for the council of between £140,000-£250,000 a year.
The new Floating Bridge 6 (FB6) ‘only’ cost £3.2m to buy in the first place.
A lot of money
These latest figures reveal that, over 26 months (Aug 2018 to Sept 2020), the total costs for FB6 (broken down into 36 categories), including things like; professional services; banking fees; payment to private contractors; medical fees and fuel costs came to £2,548,987.
Against this, the income for the service was £1,373,388 – meaning the Floating Bridge over this period has cost the tax payers £1,175,599 on top.
Of course, the council is bound by law to provide the information – this is why the Freedom of Information Act is so vital.
Having to provide the information and providing it in a usable form are, it appears, not always the same thing.
Rather than provide the figures in a spreadsheet, Isle of Wight council opted to put the 28 columns of data in a table at the top of a portrait word doc, rendering it virtually unreadable to the naked eye, even when zoomed in.
News OnTheWight applied some technical whizz-bottery and managed to extract it all into a usable form.
More articles on the way
Given the amount of detail that has been provided, News OnTheWight has decided to break this down into a number of more manageable articles, a Deep Dive Series.
We’re planning to publish these over the next two days, so check back here to dig into the story.
1:06pm 29th Oct 2020 – Seeking to clarify total costs to date, so suspended latest figure.
Image: © With kind permission of Les Lockhart
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