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Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest
To receive any apologies and declarations of interest.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Criscione and Lemon.
Exclusion of public and press
Consideration of reports containing exempt information within the meaning of section 100I and paragraph 3 part 1 Schedule 12A Local Government Act 1972.
RESOLVED that under section 100I of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded for the following item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
To consider the endorsement of the Investment Opportunities and to authorise the necessary borrowing as set out in the reports.
The Leader of the Council outlined the report. He stated that the Council was in a difficult financial situation and needed to act to protect services. He stated that the Investment Board held on 11 June 2020 had been an excellent meeting and that the two new Independent members had made positive contributions. He thanked the Director – Finance and Corporate Services, the Assistant Director – ICT and Facilities and the experienced advisors for their continuing contributions. He detailed each of the investment opportunities and stated that Investment Opportunity (iv) was no longer to be considered as the vendor had withdrawn the option.
He proposed that all the investment options be considered within one single motion and asked, through the Chair, that the Chief Executive provide an updated financial position to Members.
The Chief Executive stated that she had attended the Investment Board meeting held on 11 June 2020 and that consideration of investment opportunities needed to be put in the context of the Council requiring resources to run the organisation, particularly bearing in mind new roles and responsibilities gained during theCovid- 19 outbreak and the possibility of a no trade deal Brexit position. The current budget deficit forecast was £5m. The Council had to date received Central Government awards of £27,000 and £930,000 and a further package of measures was expected before the end of June 2020. Measures were likely to include consideration of Collection Fund balances, fees and charges and investments. She said that the Government was likely to view future Council investments less favourably. She said that all Councils needed revenue to provide resources and could not run at a deficit. She said that Members needed to consider whether the investment opportunities under consideration would provide the Council with sufficient additional funding.
Councillor Dean joined the Zoom Meeting at 6.30pm
Councillor Hargreaves seconded the motion.
Councillor Sell said that for reasons of good governance each investment opportunity should be voted on separately.
The Chair stated that he had discretion to take each item individually.
Councillor Barker asked that in future greater details of proposed schemes should be provided.
CouncillorBagnall said that total sums should be revised to take account of Investment Opportunity (iv) not being taken forward.
Councillor Evans requested details of covenant arrangements and identification of proposed guarantors. He also commented on the possible fee structure from the law firm that would be involved in the transactions.
In response, the Director – Finance and Corporate Services said that the accounts of the holding company for Investment Opportunity (ii) had yet to be scrutinised. He also indicated that favourable fee arrangements were in place with the law firm.
CouncillorFairhurst said that he recognised that the Council needed investments in place but was concerned about checks and balances within the governance processes.
Councillor Light stated that she appreciated both the situation and all the hard work involved in this matter. However, her party could not support this process. She said there ... view the full minutes text for item 3.