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I am happy to re-assure your reader Alex Erskine (Solihull News - April 23) that the event in Saint-Etienne, France regarding a loss on a loan renegotiated via ‘swap’ derivatives could not happen in Solihull.

I am happy to re-assure your reader Alex Erskine (Solihull News - April 23) that the event in Saint-Etienne, France regarding a loss on a loan renegotiated via ‘swap’ derivatives could not happen in Solihull.

The borrowing activities of local authorities are prescribed by statute under the Local Government Act 2003. Under this Act, a local authority is required to determine and keep under review how much it can afford to borrow. The level of borrowing at the Council is well below that allowed by the Act.

The Council can only borrow in sterling (except with the consent of HM Treasury) and has no powers to use financial derivatives such as the interest rate swaps referred to by your reader. HM Treasury provides a borrowing facility for local authorities (the Public Works Loans Board) and 85 per cent of the Council’s borrowing is taken from this facility. The remaining 15 per cent of borrowing comes from banks.

The Council’s treasury management activities are reviewed annually by the Audit Commission and the last audit report confirmed that the Council is ‘performing well’ in this area.

Mark Rogers

Chief Executive

Solihull MBC

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Fancy titles

David Roberts wonders what some senior Solihull Council employees do for the money they make (Letters).

He’s not the only one. I’m puzzled about what job titles like Director of People and Director of Places mean in terms of the duties involved.

There’s no clue on the council website - and both posts pay a maximum salary of over £100,000. Oh for the days when Solihull had a director of education, borough surveyor and chief medical officer. These were descriptions you could readily grasp; they were self-explanatory.

Some of the modern-day job titles are fanciful, to say the least; the pay that goes with them can be eye-watering. And don’t let us forget that local government officers still benefit from generous final salary pension schemes, when many companies have stopped them because they are too expensive.

In the run-up to the General Election, there’s talk - from some politicians at least - of imposing a public sector pay freeze in a country that is effectively bust.

Bring it on! And start with the town hall fat cats.

Peter Kennedy

Hampton-in-Arden

 

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