Documents show Mansfield District Council has outstanding loans totalling more than £90 million – but the authority’s debt is falling.
The council currently owes £90.652 million, a fall of £6 million year-on-year. However, this remains considerably higher than three years earlier.
The figures were revealed as part of the council’s treasury management outturn report, reviewed by all councillors on Tuesday (September 21), which assessed the authority’s current financial position.
The document, relating to figures at the end of the 2020/21 financial year in March, revealed about £35 million of the authority’s debt has been held in place for more than 10 years.
A further £16.17 million has been in maturity for between five and ten years.
The document reveals £86.016 million is owed to the Government’s Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), a body set up to lend major cash sums to local authorities.
A further £4.5 million is outstanding in a market loan, with £136,000 owed in short-term borrowing from Mansfield-based Racecourse Trust.
The council expects a £1.5 million PWLB loan to be repaid on November 23, 2021, with a further £3 million scheduled for repayment on March 28 next year.
This would see the council’s current debt reduced to around £86.152 million, or around £10 million less than the £96.680 million owed at the end of the 2019/20 financial year.
However, it would continue to remain around £10 million higher than in 2018.
The same documents for the 2017/18 financial year show the authority owed £76.2 million.
This increased to £94.8 million the following year after the council borrowed £20 million to fund the capital purchase of investment properties.
These investments are made by the council as alternative revenue streams and to build a property portfolio.
This portfolio includes the £8 million Edinburgh Travelodge hotel currently owned by the council, which the authority plans to sell next year after agreeing with the hotelier to terminate the lease.
Councillor Mark Fretwell (Lab), chairman of the council’s governance and standards committee, brought the report of his committee to full council on Tuesday.
He said: “It was reported [in the governance and standards committee] that the council has taken out no new loans in 2020/21, and therefore the council’s total borrowing stood at [almost] £90.7 million as of March 31, 2021.
“The majority of loan debt is with the Public Works Loan Board, which offers preferential interest rates to local authorities.
“As of March 31, 2021, the council had £27.9 million invested in financial institutions, of which £6 million is held with the Debt Management Office, a Government-backed agency, on a short-term basis, to meet planned expenditure.
“During the 2020/21 financial year, the council did not invest in any financial institutions which fell below the minimum standards approved by the council when it set up its treasury management strategy.”