Welsh £6m loan to troubled English council ‘will be repaid on time’
Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter
Blaenau Gwent finance chiefs say that a £6 million loan to a troubled English local authority will be repaid on time.
Last month it was revealed at a Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council scrutiny committee meeting that the council had loaned Thurrock Borough Council in Essex, £6 million during the 2021/22 financial year.
Over the summer it was revealed that Thurrock is drowning in £1.5 billion worth of debt, after failed investments in energy schemes.
In September, the UK Government appointed Essex County Council as commissioners to effectively run Thurrock.
The loan, which is due to be repaid by the end of this month, was discussed at a meeting of Blaenau Gwent’s Governance and Audit committee on Wednesday, November 16.
Cllr Wayne Hodgins raised the concern that a large chunk of Blaenau Gwent money “may have an exposure” to the risk of non-repayment by the English local authority.
Cllr Hodgins said: “Members and constituents are looking for reassurance at this point in time.
“Are you quite happy with the current situation and are we starting to have some dialogue with this authority?”
The council’s resources chief officer Rhian Hayden said: “I can give members that assurance.
“I have had written confirmation from that local authority and the regulators who are in helping that local authority at the moment that those loans will be repaid in line with the original agreement.”
“So, I have no concerns around that.”
Cllr Hodgins said: “That will reassure the public of Blaenau Gwent.”
Earlier this month, the renewable energy firm that Thurrock invested in, entered administration owing them £655 million.
Thurrock helped Toucan Energy Holdings 1 (TEH1) finance 53 of the company’s solar farms in the UK.
At a recent meeting of Thurrock Council’s Cabinet, it was reported that the council had so far, repaid £177.5 million worth of the loans it had received from other authorities.
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