Agenda item

Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy 2023/24

To provide Members with information on the proposed Treasury Management Strategy Statement, Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy for 2023/24.



Members considered the Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy 2023/24 report presented by Mark Saunders.


Members made comments, asked questions and received responses as follows:


·         Councillor Booth said he is assuming that this covers the investment provided to Fenland Future Ltd. Mark Saunders confirmed it will do and more detail can be found in the Capital Strategy that accompanies the committee report. Councillor Booth said obviously it has an impact on this council because we are effectively making a loan facility available to FFL, which is a subsidiary of FDC, so it looks like the amount of capital debt gets up to about £35m. As a facility of up to £25m was agreed, does that mean the Council effectively has £10m of other debts? Mark Saunders replied that is correct but currently we are not exceeding that £25m ceiling and there are no plans to do that for the next couple of years. Councillor Booth said his concern is this is a facility we are making to FFL, but with no oversight of where the money is going because meetings of the Investment Board go into confidential session, so effectively we are being asked to approve a strategy where there is £25m of debt but we do not know where it is being invested. Mark Saunders responded that the accountant gets all the information that goes to the Investment Board and then Cabinet and Council will get the appropriate reports at the appropriate times as to what those investments are. Currently all that is happening is the planning process going through for a couple of developments without going into the nitty gritty of the costings and the advantages of those developments yet. Councillor Booth said he thinks it is fair to say that with the way governance arrangements have been established, when those decisions are taken, they are taken as confidential items. As a committee, we are not entitled to see what happens so in theory we are being asked to judge that the governance arrangements are appropriate for that loan facility to be put in place without seeing them. Mark Saunders said Cabinet and Council would have to approve it eventually, but they are approving a facility under which that borrowing can be undertaken. In respect of the actual loans, we will go into further details with the Investment Board and Cabinet in due course. Councillor Booth said, but again those meetings go into confidential session. Mark Saunders responded that this committee gets to see the update and monitoring reports so will see any loans that go to FFL. Councillor Booth said it would be good to see a detailed breakdown of where those loan facilities are going.

·         Councillor Mrs French said that she believes that as an elected member, Councillor Booth is entitled to ask for this information which members of the public are not. Unless it is commercially sensitive information, there is no reason why it should be refused. Councillor Booth said if we are to undertake our role as a critical friend to ensure we are satisfied that the governance arrangements and risks taken are appropriate we need to have oversight of the whole process.

·         Mark Saunders added that accounting reporting for FFL currently has been limited because there has been little activity but as a limited company they will be filing accounts with Companies House in the future and that will contain all the details of any loans received from FDC for any other developments. However, he took Councillor Booth’s comments on board.


Proposed by Councillor Mrs French, seconded by Councillor Purser and AGREED to endorse the strategy detailed in the report to be included in the final budget report for 2023/24.


Councillor Booth asked it to be added as a note to the recommendations that the committee do get oversight of how that investment strategy is taken forward and brought back to this committee. 


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