Green Group welcomes Government move towards halting risky Council investments

16 March 2020

Local Green Party councillors have welcomed a Government consultation on how best to curtail local authority use of cheap loans to make property investments purely for income.

When Mid Suffolk first proposed to borrow £25 million to set up a property investment business, Greens opposed the move as a distraction from the main roles of the council, and not benefitting the local economy.

“This is a topic that many residents approach us about, alarmed at the steps the Council is taking as an additional £25million is borrowed to increase the scheme debt to £50 million. We have also expressed concern at the choice of retail and fast food property exclusively outside the county,”

said Group Leader Councillor Rachel Eburne. 

More recently the issue of risk has been raised by John Matthissen, a member of the Council’s Audit Committee,

“There is a clear and growing risk that some of these properties are worth less now than when we bought them and our Green Group policy is to take opportunities to dispose of these properties over a four-year period to minimise capital losses.”

Similar concerns have been expressed by Members of Parliament and Peers, leading to Government requiring clear reporting of such borrowing. The Government wants to stop the use of Public Works Loan Board money for commercial ventures not just due to the risk of income shortfall and loss of value, but also because nationally it diverts money from schools, hospitals and other core services and distorts the property market.

The Green Group will be responding to welcome the Government Treasury consultation and asking that a formal response from the District Council is also submitted.

Public Works Loan Board - Future Lending Terms






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