Page last updated at 18:48 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 19:48 UK

Kent's vow over 50m investment

Kent County Council (KCC) has vowed to "fight to get every single penny back" of its 50m which it had deposited in collapsed Icelandic banks.

The 50m figure makes up about 10% of the money that the council had invested on the advice of financial consultants.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has asked for councils to receive the same protection as personal savers.

Gordon Brown said he was considering action but the government was not offering to guarantee council deposits.

Nick Chard, KCC cabinet member for finance, defended the decision to use Icelandic banks, saying the investments were made on the basis of sound professional advice.

We have followed the protocols absolutely to the letter
Nick Chard
Kent County Council

"We work under very clear guidelines," he said.

"We employ professional advisers who use the Three Ratings agency who, up until last week, were still rating these Icelandic banks very highly.

"We acted completely properly, we've used professional advisers and we have been encouraged by central government to make sure that council taxpayers' money works well, and that's exactly what we've done.

"We have followed the protocols absolutely to the letter."

He said KCC services would not be affected.

'Vulnerability highlighted'

Councillor Mike Eddy said 16m came from the staff pension fund, 8m was school reserves and 2m was Kent Fire Authority money that the council was administering.

The rest of the 50m was made up of council tax and government grants, he added.

Canterbury council had 6m invested, with 4m in Heritable and 2m in Glitnir.

Dover council, Tonbridge and Malling council, and Sevenoaks council each had a 1m deposit with Landsbanki. The councils said services would not suffer.

Thanet council said it had withdrawn deposits from Icelandic banks and Dartford council said it had never invested in them.

A Dartford council spokesperson said: "The vulnerability of Icelandic banks has been highlighted by our advisers for the past two years."

Deposits from more than 100 councils across England, Wales and Scotland could be at risk, the BBC has learned.




SEE ALSO
Councils 'not reckless with cash'
09 Oct 08 |  UK Politics
In full: Councils facing losses
09 Oct 08 |  UK Politics

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