New investment criteria means council has no worries over Irish crisis

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FEARS that council money could be at risk following the financial crisis in Ireland were laid to rest at a question-and-answer session, writes Sally Gillespie.

In the wake of the Irish financial meltdown, Councillor David Paterson had sought assurances that Scottish Borders Council cash was safe.

Deputy leader and finance spokesperson, Councillor Neil Calvert, reminded members the local authority had agreed an investment strategy in April.

And one of the strategy’s criteria was that no investments can be made in banks from a country with a sovereign rating of less than AAA.

“This immediately excludes companies incorporated in Ireland,” he told councillors at the meeting earlier this month. “In addition, the rating of individual institutions is also considered and at present no Irish bank subsidiaries in the UK meet the council’s investment criteria.”

Currently, HBOS is the council’s main banker, he said, in which they have a £4.7million instant access account, a £2million overnight account with Barclays and £2million on a 15-day notice account with Clydesdale.

Councillor Calvert said: “It is therefore our opinion that the risk of loss in the current banking crisis has been minimised.”