Wirral Council forecasts £31m borrowing costs in upcoming budget

Wirral Council’s services will be charged more than £31m of costs linked to borrowing according to the latest forecasts.

The local authority is currently setting its budget for the next financial year which will outline how it spends money across the borough running and managing day-to-day services like libraries, leisure centres, road management, and adult and children’s social care.

It will also be setting its capital budget which will go towards funding building works and upgrading buildings and land across the borough.

To do this, it is looking to borrow £25m more in the next financial year from April 2024 to March 2025 alongside £62m in grants to fund its capital programme and borrow £86.4m in total for all its planned capital works up until 2029.

Although Wirral Council can fund its capital programme through borrowing, it must pay this back through its services budget. This will see additional charges brought in next year to do this and peaking at £2.62m in 2030.

The council’s updated capital financing strategy said financial costs linked to borrowing and paying back loans for this year’s budget totalled £26.9m before increasing to £31.2m next year and £33m by 2027. This makes up between 7 and 8% of the council’s budget to fund services.

The council’s financial strategy also outlined the local authority’s total outstanding debt which is made up of borrowing, public finance initiative liabilities, leases and transferred debt from local government reorganisation. This is expected to rise from £400.3m in 2023/24 to £409.7m by 2024/25 but it will decrease to £401.3m by the following year.

The papers will be considered at a senior Policy and Resources committee meeting on 13 February when the local authority plans to set a legally balanced budget including a possible council tax rise.

Wirral Council leader Cllr Paul Stuart said, “While there is still work to do to get the council’s finances where we want, there is no doubt they are in a vastly improved position following the difficult work done to identify and achieve considerable savings in recent years.”

He added if the local authority is able to set a budget later this month, “Wirral Council will be ready to look ahead to delivering for the people of the borough with confidence.”

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