Letter of the Day: No mega-money to spend on Portsmouth Guildhall

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A number of correspondents over the past few weeks have been under the impression that Portsmouth City Council has earmarked millions for the Guildhall. It has not.

In a typical year the council has about £7m to spend on capital projects, of which £1m has to go on building maintenance, £1m on schools maintenance and £1m on transport, leaving about £4m for everything else.

There are always other essential projects coming forward every year, so it is just not possible to set aside £10m+ for any given project even over multiple years.

The council can - and frequently does - borrow money for other schemes, but only where the payback exceeds the cost of repaying the loan.

A good example of that being the £1m being spent on solar panels: the revenue saving of about £200,000 a year more than covers the cost of the loan.

Support for the Guildhall would be tied-in with reductions in the ongoing support and structural repair costs that the council currently picks up.

In other words it would have to save the council more money than it costs.

The net effect of this is that there is no £15m to spend on other uses.

In fact, in an ideal world there would be nothing at all as any grant would be offset through lower annual expenditure.

Cllr Luke Stubbs

(Conservative, Portsmouth City Council)

South Parade, Southsea