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Council answers its critics with A1 credit rating

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WARRINGTON Borough Council – which has come in for some criticism over its financial affairs in recent time, has answered its critics by announcing a credit rating of A1. 
The classification, from world-renowned ratings agency Moody’s, follows a comprehensive evaluation of the Council’s finances, governance and strategic planning.
Moody’s say the A1 rating reflects the council’s track record of delivering a balanced budget despite ongoing financial pressures. It highlights the authority’s stable level of reserves and commitment to its commercial investment portfolio. The debt position of the council is also lower, and is set to grow slower, than first predicted.
The rating further reflects the strong and mature institutional framework for UK local authorities, with clear processes in place to protect liquidity.
Deputy leader of the council Russ Bowden said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded a high rating despite the increasingly challenging budget pressures we are faced with.
“It is clear that the council’s policy of investing in capital, to produce revenue returns to protect key front-line services for the most vulnerable, is starting to pay off.
“Moody’s has recognised the stable position of the vouncil and our continuing success in delivering a balanced budget through our enterprising approach.
“We recognise this is not without risks, but a consistent approach to due diligence for all of our commercial ventures is helping to give the council more stability, while offsetting the swingeing cuts from central government.
“We will continue to work to improve the local economy for those who live, work, invest and do business here.”

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2 Comments

  1. Couple of things. This is not a ‘high rating’. It means the council is stable. The other is that it probably doesn’t take account of the situation with Redwood Bank, which the council is trying to ‘manage’ in PR terms by not talking about it and preventing questions being asked about it.

    It’s a welcome minor improvement over last year, but it doesn’t prove what Russ Bowden is saying it proves.

    • The fanfare with which WBC announced its initial involvement with Redwood Bank seems to have given way to a marked reluctance to discuss any further aspect of that association. Heightened by the council now refusing to answer any supplementary questions put by members of the public at council meetings, in order we are told “to ensure the smooth running of council meetings.” An odd state of affairs from an administration which came to power promising greater openness and transparency.

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