OXFORD taxpayers will fund renewable energy projects around the county as part of a £2.3m deal.
The money is set to be loaned to a community-based social enterprise called Low Carbon Hub to fund solar panels for schools and businesses around Oxfordshire.
In return for this money, the city council is expecting to get its money back, plus around £34,000 interest, which works out at about 1.4 per cent.
But the city council’s financial chief has warned that the return on the investment is “minimal” and there are risks associated with the investment.
The city council’s deputy leader Ed Turner has said the money would be invested back into some of the authority’s capital projects.
He said: “We think it is win-win because on the one hand it represents a good investment for the council and we will get our money back with interest and it will enable Low Carbon Hub to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings in Oxford and elsewhere.”
When asked whether taxpayers’ money from Oxford should be used to subsidise schemes around the county, Mr Turner said: “It wouldn’t be the right thing to do if it cost us money but the benefit from it will be ploughed back into Oxford.
“It makes good sense and at the end of the day we all share one climate, and climate change doesn’t stop at the boundaries of the ring road.”
He added that the city council earns an average of 0.89 per cent on its other investments.
Low Carbon Hub has a list of projects it wants to get off the ground and it was agreed the council would loan the funding. It is estimated that the project will fund solar panels for 25 schools, of which three will be in Oxford, and two businesses, none in the city.
But Nigel Kennedy, the city council’s head of finance, said: “The financial case is not strong since the return in cash terms is minimal for the increased risks taken on, the greatest of which is the failure of the share issue to enable the return of the council’s loan in the specified period.”
The city council has agreed savings of £5.4m as well as increase council house rents, parking charges and council tax.
The money for the loan comes from the city council’s capital programme but this is phased over several years.
One of the projects which will benefit from the city council’s capital project later this year is the refurbishment of Cutteslowe Park’s lower pavilion.
Kit Villiers, chairman of the Friends of Cutteslowe Park, said: “The pavilion does look a bit of a dump and an eyesore at the moment. It would be a pity to think of the work not happening quickly.”
The Oxford Mail contacted Barbara Hammond of Low Carbon Hub, but she declined to comment.
A decision on the scheme will be made by the city executive board at at 1.30pm on Wednesday, at Oxford Town Hall.
Our top stories:
8:30am Tuesday 1st September 2015
A WOMAN who was attacked and raped while out jogging is preparing for a tough challenge – raising cash for the centre that helped to rebuild her life.
9:19pm Tuesday 1st September 2015
THERE are reports of hay bales on fire in Hanwell near Banbury.
3:34pm Tuesday 1st September 2015
A DANGEROUS convict who escaped from prison and was seen heading towards Oxford has been re-arrested.
3:05pm Tuesday 1st September 2015
AN “unrepentant paedophile” has been convicted of voyeurism and sexual offences against children in Oxford.
10:25am Tuesday 1st September 2015
A TEENAGE motorcyclist was taken to hospital after being involved in a crash with a van.
9:00am Tuesday 1st September 2015
A DAREDEVIL granny has jumped from a plane to raise more than £15,000 to help sick children.
8:00am Tuesday 1st September 2015
A NEW Arabic school set to bring youngsters of all faiths together is aiming to be the top Sunday school of its kind in the country.
7:00am Tuesday 1st September 2015
AT LEAST 40 people marched through the rain on Bank Holiday Monday to protest against Oxford City Council’s plans to take over the running of East Oxford Community Centre.
6:30am Tuesday 1st September 2015
BUSINESS is on the rise for a former helicopter pilot instructor whose company teaches people how to fly drones safely.
6:00am Tuesday 1st September 2015
WILD Oxfordshire is heading a campaign to collect 1,000 water samples from the Thames River Basin to help protect water quality.
8:30am Monday 31st August 2015
A VAST digital network linking Oxford’s roads, streetlights, shops and car parks could transform city life, a UK internet chief said.
8:20am Monday 31st August 2015
A STRIKE will continue to disrupt train services in Oxfordshire today.
8:00am Monday 31st August 2015
A FAMILY was left outraged after an 11-year-old boy was told he would have to travel alone in a car driven by a bus driver for part of his journey to school.
8:30am Saturday 29th August 2015
A TOP transplant surgeon has backed the Oxford Mail organ donation campaign saying more donors are needed than ever before.