EXCLUSIVE: North’s unemployment blackspot £50 million debt approved by councillors

The elected representatives of Derry City and Strabane District Council have authorised a group of financial loans that will see the local authority pay back around £20 million in interest over the coming decades.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request from BtP, the Council provided the list of all loans undertaken by local Council since 2011.  In total, 87 loans have been taken by Council over that period, totaling £31,999,688.

When interest is calculated for each individual loan and combined, ratepayers will pay back a staggering £50,415,645.49.

The purpose and amount of the loans vary – from a £4 million loan to fund Derry’s Guildhall restoration (which when paid will cost almost double), to £8,000 for ground maintenance equipment.

Councillors are given regular updates as to the ‘financial outturn’ of the local authority, having recently been given their most recent report only two days ago at the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee.

Minutes of a meeting of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee held on 1st March 2016 (found here) show that members of every Party – and Independents on Council received and approved the financial report which includes the overall figure of loans at that time.

Present at this meeting were:

Councillor Carlin (in the Chair); Aldermen Hussey, Kerrigan, Ramsey and Thompson, Councillors Boyle, C Kelly, McGuire, McMahon, O’Reilly, Reilly and Robinson.

Non-Member of Committee:- Councillors Carr, Cusack, Donnelly, Gallagher, Hastings, D Kelly and P Kelly.

Minutes of the meeting show:

GSP70/16 Nine Month Financial Outturn

A Member of the Sinn Fein grouping in relation to the above item, noted the positive financial position of Council and thanked all involved for their hard work.

Rates have been increased twice in the last two years by the Council.

The loans provided to BtP exclusively, are as follows:

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