To receive a report from the Executive Director of Resources presenting the Council’s Annual Treasury Management Report for 2018 -19 in accordance with Treasury Management Practices.
It is a regulatory requirement for Council to receive this report by 30 September each year. (Report No: 41) (Key Decision Reference Number: KD: 4926)
Councillor Maguire moved and Councillor Caliskan seconded the report of the Executive Director Resources presenting the Council’s Annual Treasury Management Report for 2018-19. (Report No: 41)
1. The points raised by Councillor Maguire proposing the report:
a. That the Council was required to produce an annual report each year setting out the Council’s debt, borrowing and interest payments.
b. Outstanding debt to 31 March 2019 was £844.8m an increase of 148m since April 2018.
c. Borrowing this year has increased by £125.5m with interest payments of £19.6m. The Council had kept within its borrowing limits.
d. The Council borrowed money to fund the capital programme.
e. Tables in the report show the current borrowing, loans taken out, cost of borrowing and debt spread over 50 years.
f. Much of the borrowing is taken from the Public Works Loans Board.
g. No debt rescheduling was carried out last year.
h. The Council had provided assistance to schools whose accounts were overdrawn with a revolving credit facility.
i. When interest rates were low it was cheaper to borrow.
j. The current uncertainty arising from BREXIT was being monitored.
2. The following highlighted by the Opposition:
a. Support for the actions with regard to the schools’ debt.
b. Praise for the presentation of the report.
c. Concern about the levels of debt and the view that if the Council borrowed less then they would need less money to service the debt and that this was increasing pressure on the revenue budget and creating problems for the future.
d. As the Council sets its own borrowing limit it was not difficult to meet it.
e. Concern about the consequences of such high debt. Since 2010 Council debt has increased by £574m and the capital finance requirement gone up by £60m. Over the next 2 years it would reach £600m. This was felt to be unsustainable.
3. The following highlighted by the Majority Group:
a. Thanks for officers and members for the report
b. Acknowledgement that this was a period with high levels of uncertainty, especially with the issue of BREXIT but that it was appropriate for the Council to strike a balance between borrowing when interest rates were low and achieving cost certainty over the period for which funds were required.
c. Making investments now was part of the strategy for the Council’s capital programme and saves money in the future.
d. It was clear evidence that the Council’s finances were sound and were being managed effectively and efficiently alongside measures for income generation.
4. The summing up from Councillor Maguire that the money borrowed was to enable to council to spend to invest, to build houses. In borrowing they had followed the advice of their external advisors and most of the money had been borrowed from the Public Works Loans Board. The aim of the Council was to make people’s lives better.
Following the debate, the recommendations in the report were put to the vote and agreed with the following result:
1. To note the contents of the report.
2. To approve the revised Treasury Management Strategy noting the change to the minimum revenue provision with the addition of 4(c) set out in Appendix E to the strategy.