Doncaster Council made £5 million ‘investment’ in another council 220 miles away
The council handed a £5 million loan to a council in Kent for them to carry out infrastructure works, documents show.
The documents state that DMBC (Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council) held a £5 million ‘investment’ in Ashford Council, an authority 30 minutes drive from both Canterbury and Dover.
Capital spending is limited to projects such as road resurfacing, pothole improvements and investments in physical infrastructure like house building.
Doncaster Council made £7,500 in interest from the Kent council as the loan came with an interest rate of 0.15 per cent.
A spokesman for Ashford Council confirmed they borrowed the money from Doncaster but did not specify what it was spent on. Finance bosses at DMBC said this type of lending between councils is ‘common practice’.
Ashford Council also borrowed a further £95 million from a variety of other local authorities including Chesterfield, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Deryshire Dales councils.
The Kent council was loaned the money in August 2020 and finished their final payment with interest on February 19, 2021.
An Ashford Council spokesman said: “At Ashford we have a sizable £100 millon borrowing requirement to support capital investment in the borough over recent years.
“This funding requirement is furnished by short term loans from other local authorities throughout the year, and the loan from Doncaster Council was a part of this wider borrowing requirement and therefore cannot be clearly linked to an individual asset.”
Faye Tyas, Doncaster Council’s Assistant Director of Finance said: “It is common practice for councils to invest short-term surplus cash balances with each other to optimise cash flow.
“This is arranged through brokers who identify the best provider to meet the requirements at the time. The investment with Ashford Council was for six months and ended on February 19, 2021.”