Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has doubled the amount of money it is authorised to invest in the stock markets this year. 

Sue Cuerden, executive director of corporate services, signed off approval to increase the limit of money the authority can invest, on August 4.

The authority can now invest up to £50million of its useable reserves into the money markets and up to £10million in individual funds.

The previous limit was £25million however the executive director of corporate services claimed that owing to Covid, the council needed to increase the facility.

The reason cited on the document is that the council suffered "disruption to its usual levels of income and expenditure". 

Andover Advertiser: Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has £71million available in cash reserves Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has £71million available in cash reserves

In full, the reason for the decision is written as: "As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the council has suffered disruption to its usual levels of income and expenditure.

"This has increased the importance of the council having access to its cash reserves whenever required and in order to keep all cash available for unexpected events new fixed term loans are not considered to be appropriate.

"Money market funds offer the most liquid and diversified solution available for the resulting increase in cash balances.

"The decision to increase money market fund limits is a temporary measure to ensure that the council is able to meet all of its cash flow requirements during the pandemic and will be reviewed in February 2021 as part of the Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22."

Basingstoke council has £71million of available reserves of taxpayers' cash.

Councils have previously been warned about "hoarding" public money.

Former local government minister Eric Pickles urged councils in England to make use of the £10bn in reserve funds in 2010.

The communities secretary said more than 50 local authorities at the time had in excess of £50million in their "piggy banks".

He said they should tap the funds to cover "short term financial challenges".