Search Legislation

Greater London Authority Act 1999

Sections 112 to 118: Credit approvals

197.Section 43 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (LGHA) confers on local authorities a power to borrow money for any purpose relevant to their functions. Other provisions of Part IV regulate the use of credit arrangements which, as defined, include leases, hire purchase contracts and any transaction under which credit is given by a deferral of payment.

198.A credit approval is needed as authority to charge expenditure to any account other than a revenue account. Thus, all expenditure of borrowed money requires the use of a credit approval. A credit approval is also required to be used if an authority meets capital expenditure out of amounts set aside as provision for credit liabilities.

199.Using a credit approval is also one of the ways in which an authority may provide the credit cover which is required when entering into credit arrangements (alternatively, the authority may provide credit cover by setting aside additional amounts out of revenue or capital receipts).

200.Credit approvals are issued by the Government. A basic credit approval has to be issued for a local authority before the beginning of every financial year. Supplementary credit approvals may be given during a financial year.

201.Sections 112 to 118 contain provisions on credit approvals. It is intended that the Government will have power to issue to the Authority and the functional bodies two new kinds of credit approval called aggregate credit approvals and additional credit approvals. The aggregate credit approval will, like the basic credit approval for other local authorities, be issued by the Secretary of State before the beginning of the financial year. An additional credit approval may be issued by the Secretary of State or any other Minister at any time during a financial year.

202.All such credit approvals are to be issued to the Mayor (different arrangements will apply in the first year before the Mayor is elected), but copies have to be sent to the functional bodies.

203.Sections 113 and 114 deal with aggregate credit approvals and additional credit approvals. The amount of an aggregate credit approval may be nil. But subject to that, an aggregate or additional credit approval may consist of any number of amounts. Each amount specified must be of one of four categories. By specifying category A or B amounts for a specified functional body or for the Authority, the Government will be allowing the specified body to incur credit for capital purposes. In the case of a category A amount, this will be for any such purposes. In the case of a category B amount, it will be for a specified capital purpose.

204.Category C and D amounts are not for the use of a specified body, but are for allocation by the Mayor in such proportions as he may see fit. An allocation will allow the body to which it is made to incur credit for such capital purposes as the Mayor decides.

205.In the case of a category C amount, the Mayor may state that it is for any purpose or for a particular purpose.

206.In the case of a category D amount, the Mayor may only state that it is for any purpose specified by the Government or for a particular purpose of that description. For example, if the Secretary of State specified that the amount was for "regeneration", the Mayor would be able to allocate it for regeneration or for a particular regeneration project.

207.Section 115 provides that the Mayor must notify all four functional bodies of every allocation made from a category C or D amount contained in a credit approval, whether it is made to one of them or to the Authority. In the case of category C and D amounts contained in the aggregate credit approval, the allocations to the functional bodies are to be notified as part of a capital spending plan for which provision is made in section 122.

208.Section 116 confers power on the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring an amortisation period to be specified in aggregate and additional credit approvals. This is a period during which the body using the approval (i.e. the body either specified in it or having an allocation from the Mayor) has to set aside amounts out of revenue which could be used to meet its debts.

209.But such regulations would not apply if a category B amount were specified in an aggregate or additional credit approval as authority for a specified body to use borrowed money for expenditure which is treated as being for capital purposes because a direction has been given under section 40(6) of the LGHA 1989. Section 90 provides that in such a case, the Minister giving the credit approval has a discretion whether or not to specify an amortisation period.

210.Section 117 sets out the criteria for issuing credit approvals. In determining the amounts of aggregate and additional credit approvals, the Secretary of State or other Minister is to have the same discretion to take account of such factors as appear to him to be appropriate as he has under Part IV of the LGHA 1989 in relation to basic and supplementary credit approvals. He may, in particular, have regard to grants, contributions and (subject to certain qualifications) capital receipts. But he may not take account of the ability of the Authority or a functional body to finance capital expenditure from revenue.

211.The effect of section 118 is that, having been specified for a category A or B amount or having received an allocation from a category C or D amount, the authority concerned (the Authority or a functional body) shall be treated as having received a credit approval under Part IV of the LGHA 1989.

212.Consequently, the authority conferred by aggregate and additional credit approvals (to charge capital expenditure to a non-revenue account or to enter into credit arrangements) and the effect of using them are the same as for basic and supplementary credit approvals. Thus, for example, a functional body for which a category A amount is specified may use it to charge capital expenditure to borrowing, to enter into a lease, or to make a transfer of credit approval to any other local authority under section 56(2) of the LGHA 1989. And when the approval is used, it increases the functional body's "credit ceiling" (this is a measure of the extent to which an authority still has to make provision for its debts and other credit liabilities).

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources