Following the reporting of The Local Authority (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Scotland) Regulations 2016 (the “Regulations”) to the Scottish Parliament by the Local Government and Regeneration Committee, the Regulations (which are, however, still subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament) appear increasingly set to come into force on 01 April 2016.
Whilst only seven pages long, the Regulations set out significant borrowing powers for local authorities including those set out in Regulation 10 which grant a local authority the power to borrow to lend to various statutory bodies including other local authorities, Transport Partnerships created under the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005, certain community councils and most importantly (for the purposes of this Law Now) harbour authorities which are wholly or partially situated within the area of the local authority which is making the borrowing.
Harbour authorities in this context means persons who have the powers or duties of improving, maintaining or managing a harbour vested in them by statute (generally the Harbours Act 1964) or via other statutory instruments. This will potentially have significant implications for the funding of around nineteen harbour authorities in Scotland.
The Regulations also set out protections for lenders, powers for local authorities to borrow via credit arrangements for financing capital expenditure, authorised limits for external debt and the securing of sums borrowed on revenues of the local authority.