December 14, 2018 10.24 am This story is over 33 months old

Concern over council’s ‘unsustainable’ borrowing

The council is £225 million in debt

Councillors in North Lincolnshire have raised concerns that the council’s borrowing strategy is “unsustainable”.

Leader of the Labour opposition on North Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Len Foster, said the council had “increasing levels of debt” and that it should plan for the long-term.

But leading councillors said the strategy is “sustainable” and that it “is working”.

The council currently borrows money to fund its capital programme in order to invest in local projects.

Leader of the Labour group on North Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Len Foster.

Councillors approved a capital programme for the authority back in March which included £12 million investments in local schools and £1.3 million for a new leisure centre in Barton.

A further £5.2 million was earmarked to improve the county’s streetlights.

In October, authority officials said it would need to spend £70 million over the next year in local schemes.

But, the council is estimated to have a total debt of £225 million by the end of the financial year.

However, officers have said the authority is below its borrowing limit and will look to take out loans over a longer term.

Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Rob Waltham.

Councillor Foster said at a Full Council meeting the authority had to think “longer than six months” with its strategy.

“The fact remains that authorities up and down the country are in a worse situation than us,” he said.

“Some of them have to go cap in hand to the government.

“But this is not sustainable in the long term, we must think longer than six months or a four-year administration.”

The proposed £1.2million extension plans for Baysgarth Leisure Centre in Barton-upon-Humber which were included in the council’s capital programme.

But Conservative council leader, Rob Waltham, said it was “important” that the council invests and that borrowing was being managed.

“The money that we spend in our capital programme is within our borrowing limit,” he said.

“We have had it assessed that our borrowing limit is acceptable.

“What we have done is invested in libraries, such as Riddings, and we will soon be opening a new market in Scunthorpe.

“It is also important that we continue to invest in schools.”

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