Mansfield District Council’s finance chief has defended a proposed increase in the amount of cash to be spent on investment properties outside the area from £55 million to £62m.
In last year’s budget, the council’s capital programme included £55m to purchase further investment properties over the next four years.
The aim is to generate additional income as the authority faces year-on-year cuts in its funding from central Government.
However, the strategy has received widespread criticism for not investing the borrowed cash locally.
Speaking after a meeting of the cabinet which recommended the council approving the authority’s proposed capital programme to 2022-23, Councillor Roger Sutcliffe, portfolio holder for finance, revealed the investment amount proposed was now £62m.
If accepted by the full council, it would mean the current planned schemes are carried out and will allow the purchase of additional investment properties to generate income to support revenue budgets.
He said: “We have got approval to spend more, but I want to hold until we can get a decent return.
“I took a decision and got it approved in council that we could move forward investment we were going to be putting in the next financial year and the year after that.
“We have taken on some more which helps to balance our books without having to take any more pain than is necessary.
“I have come under a lot of criticism here for investing outside the district.
“I don’t want to invest outside the district, but in Mansfield you just cannot get any where near the same returns.
“I am optimistic that will change in the future – in the not-too-far-distant future with these hotels that are coming up.
“We would be interested in buying those and using them as investments in the same way as the hotel in Edinburgh.
“I would much rather invest in Mansfield.
“It is taxpayers money that we are spending and the taxpayer wants the best return they can get.”
The council has already invested in hotels in Edinburgh and Doncaster and a leisure centre in Manchester.