Councillors could call on future government to make borrowing more affordable

Councillors in Leeds are set to decide whether to ask for future governments to make borrowing money more affordable for local authorities.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 6:00 am

It follows news last month that the Treasury increased the interest rate for the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) – a large source of local authority borrowing – to 2.8 per cent from 1.8 per cent.

And, at a full Leeds City Council meeting this week, the authority’s deputy leader is set to present a motion, known as a white paper, asking for whatever government is elected on December 12 to make borrowing more affordable for local authorities. The document claims the changes have made it more difficult for councils to invest in services.

The paper, in the name of Leeds City Council deputy leader Coun James Lewis, read: “This council is concerned by the government’s recent decision to restrict council investment in desperately needed new affordable housing, infrastructure, schools and regeneration schemes in Leeds by increasing the interest rate for borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The meeting will take place at Leeds Civic Hall.

“Council is particularly concerned the Government took this decision without any warning and without consultation.

“Council believes this is symbolic of a national administration that has no concern for good financial planning among councils, as evidenced by its continuing failure to provide certainty of long term funding for councils.

“Council therefore calls on the Government elected on December 12 to provide long term, sustainable funding for councils.”

The paper will be voted on by council members at full Leeds City Council meeting is set to take place on Wednesday, December 13.