The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the report to the Committee. He highlighted that the report, along with its appendices sets out the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy and Capital Strategy for 2020/21 – 2024/25 which was updated to reflect the last MTFP. Members were informed that the report complied with legislative requirements which ensured scrutiny of the key financial resources of the Council.
The Treasury Management Strategies were explained to Members as set out at Appendices 1 and 2 of the report. Members were informed of the definition of Treasury Management by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). The Treasury Management Strategy was said to be particularly important due to the significant cash reserves local authority held. Members were informed that the Treasury Management Strategy considered key controls around investments which focused on counterparty security, liquidity, and yield as well as considering borrowing and investment strategy. An explanation was given to Members on the changes between the current Treasury Management and Capital Strategies Report and the previous version.
The Capital Strategy related to both the current capital and expenditure as well as the impacts. The Capital Strategy report highlighted what benefits were derived from taking long view of capital expenditure. The inclusion of programmed works to the Westmorland Shopping Centre Car Park in the 2020/21 capital programme had resulted in £12 million spend for 2029/30-2033/34 being removed from the longer term programme.
Members were directed to the relevant sections in the report which set out the Council’s approach to Capital Investments; focusing on where the processes and procedures for appraising, authorising and monitoring capital expenditure were set out, the Council’s process for reviewing debts, borrowing and treasury management; affordability of the capital programme and mitigating key risks particularly around liquidity, interest rates, exchange rates, refinancing; legal/regulatory risks, fraud/corruption, and market fluctuation. Another focus of the report was the commercial activity strategy which highlighted nearly £5 million of investment that delivered £400,000 to support the Council’s budget for the last financial year. The commercial activity strategy was said to have given more scrutiny as a result of other Council’s recent commercial activity. The Strategy outlined how the Council ensured that all is commercial activity was affordable and sustainable. Another aspect of commercial activity involved how long-term liabilities and investments including soft-loans and pension guarantees were dealt with by the Council.
Members were informed that by publishing the Treasury Management and Capital Strategies in such details improved transparency of the Council and provided reassurances that the Council continued to operate in a prudent and professional manner.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the Treasury Management and Capital Strategies and the authorised borrowing limits within the report be noted; and
(2) Cabinet be recommended to endorse both strategies for recommendation to Council.