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Nottinghamshire County Council needs to borrow £70m in the next year to balance its books

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Nottinghamshire County Council needs to borrow £70m in the next year to balance the books, it has been reported.

At its finance committee meeting, the service director for finance said that around 10% of the council’s budget was 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.”

County Hall. (12697862)
County Hall. (12697862)

Member Lee Waters said: “This will push this authority into debt approaching £600m ­— 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.”

Nigel Stevenson, service director for finance, procurement and improvement at the county council, said: “About 10% 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.”

Tom Hollis said: “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 has been 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 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 during the meeting.

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