The SNP’s Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury (pictured) has written to the Chancellor calling on him to scrap council debt payments for this financial year, as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic hits communities.
In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Stephen Flynn MP highlighted that councils across the UK currently owe the Treasury in excess of £9bn – including money borrowed to build new homes, schools, roads and community facilities – through the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB).
Each year they make principal and interest payments to the Treasury to pay-off this debt, with many local authorities likely set to pay millions in the current financial year.
The MP for Aberdeen South has now urged the Treasury to remove this financial burden from councils during this challenging period.
Commenting, Stephen Flynn MP said:
“Councils across Scotland and the rest of the UK are working on the front-line providing support to many of the most vulnerable people in our communities during this pandemic.
“However, at the same time, the UK government still expects them to pay millions in debt payments to the Treasury.
“In order to support local authorities in this most challenging of times, I have written to the Chancellor calling on him to scrap the PWLB principal and interest payments for local authorities for the current financial year.
“For many of the larger councils these debt payments will likely run into tens of millions of pounds this year alone and alleviating this financial strain during the struggle against Covid-19 would be a good step.
“We are in unprecedented and challenging times and I urge the UK government to explore measures it can take to help communities during this period.”