Friday 24 May 2024
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Nottingham County Council needs £70million loan over the year to balance books as debt ‘approaches £600million’

“You need to put the debt in the round with our responsibility to provide a service for the people of Nottinghamshire.”

Nottinghamshire County Council needs to borrow £70m in the next year in order to balance its books, reports state.

During the Finance Committee meeting on 11 October, the service director for finance said that around 10 per cent of the council’s budget is spent on reducing debt.

A council document said: “The Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22 identified a need to borrow approximately £70m over the course of the year to fund the capital programme, replenish internal balances and to replace maturing debt.”

Councillor Lee Waters (Ind) said: “This will push this authority into debt approaching £600 million – the only reason people aren’t talking about Nottinghamshire County Council drowning in debt is probably because of the debt of Nottingham City Council and things like the debacle of Robin Hood Energy.

“This council needs to get a grip over our growing debts.”

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Nigel Stevenson, service director for finance, procurement and improvement at the county council, said: “About 10 per cent of our budget is servicing the debt.

“You’re quite right councillor Waters, it is something we have to keep an eye on.

“It is something that’s on my mind and our member’s minds.”

Councillor Tom Hollis (Ind) added: “At a previous Finance Meetings I have raised concerns that the overspend at the Children and Young People’s Department is out of control.”

In 2021/22, the council’s budget is made up of £367.6m in council tax and £125.6m in local government grants, as well as other grants. All together it equals over a billion pounds.

Bruce Laughton (Con) said: “With reference to the debt levels, as far as this council is concerned, much of the debt is accrued, for example over the last four years, we’ve spent £100m renovating schools.

“We could be in a position where we don’t accrue the debt but we are asking our children to go to schools which are not fit for purpose, affecting their education.

“Much of the money is spent on supported accommodation and is there to support elderly people.

“You need to put the debt in the round with our responsibility to provide a service for the people of Nottinghamshire.”

The Financial Monitoring Report was passed by councillors during the meeting.

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