KCC waits for news on £50mil­lion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Off The Record - by Paul Fran­cis pfran­cis@thek­m­group.co.uk

po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor COUN­CILS in Kent who have tens of mil­lions of pounds of tax­pay­ers’ cash locked into Ice­landic banks may not know for weeks and pos­si­bly months whether they will get it back.

Kent County Coun­cil has £50mil­lion tied up with Ice­landic banks and sev­eral other district coun­cils have sums rang­ing from £1mil­lion to £6mil­lion in­vested. Kent Po­lice has £11mil­lion on de­posit.

It has now emerged that KCC has a fur­ther £163mil­lion on de­posit or in­vested in over­seas ac­counts, in­clud­ing with banks in Aus­tralia, Ire­land and Bel­gian.

How­ever, this week it has put a halt to any new in­vest­ments in for­eign in­sti­tu­tions and is putting its money into UK Gov­ern­ment-backed bonds, a move that could lose the au­thor­ity money be­cause of the lower in­ter- est rates of­fered.

A re­port on the cri­sis pre­sented to KCC’s Con­ser­va­tive cab­i­net de­scribes the sit­u­a­tion as “a se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial is­sue for KCC, but it is man­age­able”.

The un­cer­tainty over the coun­cils’ cash comes af­ter min­is­ters de­clined to guar­an­tee to bail out lo­cal au­thori- ties, say­ing that they were dif­fer­ent to pri­vate in­vestors.

KENT Po­lice has said it has £11 mil­lion on de­posit but the banks’ col­lapse shouldn’t cause im­me­di­ate prob­lems.

A state­ment said: “This money is a small pro­por­tion of our to­tal as­sets and there are no short-term liq­uid­ity prob­lems for Kent Po­lice.”

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