Despite searching (and I admit I might not have had the time to look in as much depth as I would normally have), I cannot find details of the facility it replaces or the terms on which it is granted, beyond being repayable over three years.
Do the WIHB have a overdraft from the bank? Is it an unsecured loan from the bank? Or is it to replace borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board?
The answer is that it is most likely to a revolving unsecured credit facility from the bank (if Maggie Fraser from the Health Board is reading this, then I would appreciate a copy of the last set of accounts, please!) In other words, basically an agreed continuing overdraft facility, similar to those used by businesses.
Let's just imagine that the new loan saves 5% interest (and I would guess that is on the high side), then the annual saving in the first year is £150,000.
Enough to employ some additional staff. Probably in Inverness, as the Minister has awarded £250,000 extra for the additional costs of providing central support by Highland Health Board. This is described, in a wonderful piece of doublespeak as “Safeguarding the independence of WIHB” by maximising skills in admin, finance and HR. In other words, Highland will provide these skills and WIHB will pay for them.
But the real trouble arises when you remember that WIHB have to repay the £3m loan over 3 years.
Just where are they going to find £1m next year to fund this?
Why more than likely the reduction in the cost of the centralised admin services (for which read jobs) that are now being delivered by Highland.
But before you blame WIHB, remember that the negotiations over the loan will have been of the type that involves a direct instruction from the Government; which explains the fawning and financially illiterate press release from our MSP claiming that everything is wonderful.
As he had previously suggested/implied/hoped that the debt would be waived by the new Government, his sudden abandonment of his position signals that he has (again) be told what to think, and has duly fallen straight into line, and tells us all we need to know about the deal.