Stoke on Trent MP's are calling for City Council officials to publish their investment portfolio in wake of the announcement that £5million of taxpayers money is frozen in one of the Icelandic banks that have gone to the wall.
More than £1billion was invested by around 100 of our countries authorities.
This money was invested in this way following treasury guidelines about investing public money in the safest places and spreading it around so that authorities are not reliant on one bank. The interest earned on these investments are crucial to local authorities and often mean that council tax rises are kept to the minimum.
I have no criticism of Stoke on Trent City Council for investing our money but welcome Rob Flello (pictured) has announcement that he is to look in to the Iclandic Bank Landsbanki and its UK subsidiary Heritable Bank's credit rating prior to their collapse.
Credit ratings are often the only indicator of how a company are performing as adverse reports lead to the rating going down, however these adverse reports do take time to filter down to the companies credit rating.
Stoke Central MP Mark Fisher wants the Council to publish their full investment portfolio and said this to the Sentinel "The city council has got to publish its portfolio so we can see if there are other things. This is taxpayers' money and we have a right to know what they have invested in."
I suppose it's one of them cases where our local authorities are damned if they did and damned if they didn't. We as council tax payers would be outraged if we found out that our council had missed out on an investment opportunity which led to a hike in council tax or a reduction of public service levels, that said given the uncertainty of the international banking sector i would hope that the Finance Officers were monitoring the banks credit ratings on a daily basis.
The government is working with the Local Government Association to find a way of securing the members money.
The question that needs to asked to our Council Financial Officers is that what happens to council tax if this money is not recovered, and if there is to be a rise, how much would this be?
Once again though it is the normal men and women that will be expected to make up any shortfall. Our national banks are being bailed out to the tune of billions of pounds for effectively losing billions on the USA sub prime mortgages fiasco.
What do you think of this situation and what do you want our local authority to do now........
Read the Sentinel article by following this link: