'I do what's right for the people of Nottingham' - New council leader on her role at Robin Hood Energy

The new leader of Nottingham City Council Neghat Khan pictured at Nottingham Castle.
The new leader of Nottingham City Council Neghat Khan pictured at Nottingham Castle. -Credit:Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post

Nottingham City Council's new leader has defended her background at Robin Hood Energy by saying she played a "key role" in closing the company down. Nottingham City Council established the energy company back in 2015 with the aim of tackling the stranglehold of the 'Big Six' energy firms.

Despite boasting more than 125,000 customers at its peak, the company's losses soon mounted while the council continued propping it up. The Labour-led authority was eventually accused of "institutional blindness" for its continued support of Robin Hood Energy, which entered administration in January 2020.

The council's total losses on the firm are expected to cost the taxpayer £38 million. Neghat Khan, who has just been installed as the new leader of Nottingham City Council after David Mellen stepped down, was a key member of the Robin Hood Energy board.

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First appointed as a company director in 2016, Councillor Khan was eventually invited to chair the firm's board in 2019, taking over from Steve Battlemuch. Speaking about her record at the failed company, Councillor Khan said: "Councillor Mellen and others have said why we started Robin Hood energy - to tackle fuel poverty. The biggest challenge for us at that time was changes in regulations. Sometimes you start a business, it doesn't work.

"I actually came in and very quickly realised things weren't as they were being told and I played a key role in actually closing down the company. When I look back at my time on Robin Hood Energy it was difficult.

"I don't hide away from tough challenges and I do what's right for the people of Nottingham. That's what I did then and now I'm coming into this position knowing that it's not going to be easy, but I want to put my mark on this."

Speaking during a Council House meeting on Monday (May 20), David Mellen also defended Councillor Khan's Robin Hood Energy record by saying: "It was Neghat who I asked to chair the board once we as a group had decided that the end of the road had come and that the company needed to close. An ability to make tough decisions and see them through - that's the Neghat I know."