THE Royal Borough could see another £75m added to its debt – but the council believes it will be able to pay it off.

Andrew Vallance, the head of finance, told councillors sitting at the audit and governance meeting that the council’s current debt of £206m could increase by another £75m over the next few years.

But he reassured members that capital receipts received from huge developments in the borough could be used to pay down the debt by 2035.

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Last year, the Royal Borough’s debt stood at £191m but grew by another £15m as it took out another long-term loan to ‘reduce the council’s exposure to future increases in short-term interest rates.’

Chief finance officer Adele Taylor said at the meeting on Thursday, July 28, “borrowing does not equal bad debt” and will be managing and restructuring long-term debt with financial advisors to ensure debt repayment does not go out of control.

This also includes very long-term debt that was inherited by the abolishment of Berkshire County Council, in which the debt it amassed was spread among the current unitary authorities in Berkshire.

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Ms Taylor said: “We do take advice from Arlen Close, our financial advisors. When we were taking out this debt, we have been doing it with advice from experts in the field, who are looking into interest rates and know more details than we do…

“It’s not a precise art I don’t think any of us can predict what interest rates are going to be like next month or the month after, but they do have is access to the very latest information, which is why we use them.”