This report seeks approval for the establishment of the Warwickshire Recovery & Investment Fund (WRIF) in accordance with the Business Plan 2021-22 and also for the inaugural WRIF Investment Strategy (both attached as appendices), together with authority to establish and launch the WRIF.
Cabinet Portfolio Holder: Councillor Peter Butlin
Councillor Peter Butlin explained to Cabinet that the aim of the WRIF is to aid economic recovery. Warwickshire needs to be the preferred place to do business. Having already obtained agreement to the establishment of the WRIF the report before Cabinet covered governance and the lending strategy. The need to make the best use of over £100 million of tax payers money was emphasised. Some loans will carry a degree of risk, but effective risk management processes will be put in place.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse sought and was given assurance that training will be provided to members who have an oversight of the WRIF.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe stressed the need to secure economic recovery for Warwickshire. The way the council responds to businesses will be different in the future to how it is now she added. Officers were thanked for their hard work. The project has been supported by partners including the Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and the local Enterprise partnership.
In response to the question asked previously by Keith Kondakor, Councillor Peter Butlin questioned whether there is a link between population levels and the WRIF. If population levels are decreasing, he asked, why are property prices increasing?
1. Recommends to Council that £130 million be added to the Council’s 2021-26 capital programme for the Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund (WRIF) to deliver the WRIF Business Plan as set out at Appendix 1;
2. That, subject to Council approving the Council Treasury Management and Investment Strategies, and the addition to the Capital programme endorsed at Recommendation 1, Cabinet:
a) Approves the WRIF Business Plan 2021/22 at Appendix 1;
b) Approves the WRIF Investment Strategy at Appendix 2;
c) Agrees to fund the net cost of the WRIF in 2021/22, estimated to be £262,000, from the Commercial Risk Reserve, and requires the funding to be replenished as the first call on any WRIF surplus in the following financial years;
d) Agrees to fund the remaining set-up costs and the cost of the procurement of the external fund managers, of £240,000 from the Economic Growth and Place Shaping Fund;
e) Agrees to establish the WRIF governance arrangements, as described at section 5 of this report and authorises the Strategic Director for Communities (as Chair of the Investment Panel) in consultation with the Deputy Leader (Finance and Property) to take such urgent exit decisions as he considers necessary (as detailed in paragraph 4.13 of the Business Plan);
f) Authorises the Strategic Director for Communities to commence the
procurement for the appointment of external fund managers and to award all necessary contract(s) on terms and conditions considered acceptable to the Strategic Director for Resources;
g) Authorises the Strategic Director for Resources to put in place the necessary anti money laundering arrangements, including the designation of relevant officers to fulfil the required roles;
h) Authorises the Strategic Director for Resources to finalise all necessary legal documentation for the WRIF on terms and conditions considered acceptable to him and take ... view the full minutes text for item 6