A council has borrowed more money this year than it did last year, but has negotiated slightly lower interest rates.

Redbridge Council’s strategy and resources scrutiny committee was presented with a report into the authority’s borrowing and investment levels for the 2017-18 financial year.

Total external borrowing levels had gone up since the 2016-17 financial year; rising from £208.284 million to £215.771 million; a total increase of £7.487 million.

The authority engaged in short-term borrowing in the 2017-18 financial year, which it had not in the previous year. That short-term borrowing amounted to £7.5 million and accounts for the overall increase.

At the same time, the overall interest rates on those loans went down in terms of percentage.

In the 2016-17 financial year, the overall interest rate for the authority’s borrowing stood at 3.6 per cent; in 2017-18, that figure dropped to 3.45 per cent.

The council’s overall investment totals also dropped between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years.

In 2016-17, the total for the authority’s investments was £146.45 million; that fell to £110 million in 2017-18; a fall of £36.45 million.

The report said: “The overall level of cash balances decreased by £36.450 million, due in part to the use of reserves to support the revenue budget and the use of internal balances to the resource the capital programme in line with the council’s borrowing strategy.”

All of the 2016-17 investments were short-term and while most 2017-18 investments were also short-term, the council also made £10 million worth of long-term investments during that period.

Cabinet member for finance Cllr Kam Rai was contacted for comment.