Surrey County Council expects to add a further billion pounds in “additional” debt to its balance sheets. But experts have praised its financial sustainability and suggested it is better placed to cope with any potential issues.

The council currently has about £1.3 billion in capital financing requirements and has forecast this to surge to £2.4bn by 2028/29. It expects to fund much of this through borrowing.

According to its own figures the council has an estimated borrowing limit of £1.06bn which it forecasts will grow to £2bn by 2028/29. It will do this, it says, by borrowing an additional £1.24bn over that time frame.

The finances were presented to Surrey County Council’s audit and governance committee and comes as data found Surrey councils were racking up some of the biggest debts in the UK.

Currently the county council’s financial health remains bullish, considering the serious risks other local authorities were in.

And Surrey is expected to boost its coffers again from April, with taxpayers likely to be hit with a five per cent, average £84-a-year rate rise to cover the authority's £13.5 million budget gap.

Paul Dossett of accountancy firm Grant Thornton told the audit meeting that, although the council was not immune to financial challenges hitting local authorities across the country, it had the support in place to better navigate them.

Mr Dossett said: “It’s a very, very strong position and you have the right mechanisms in place. Your strong governance is linked to the fact that your financial sustainability is in a better place than some other councils. 

“I’m not downplaying the challenges you face, because you face some… but overall it’s a very strong report it will be absolutely in our top quartile at least for these types of reports this year.” 

Looking forwards, the council is looking to add “significant” borrowing to its books.

Nationally, the four most indebted authorities are bankrupt Birmingham (£2.5bn borrowed from the PWLB), the Greater London Authority (£2.02bn), Woking Borough Council (£1.9bn) and Leeds (£1.76bn).

Surrey lost £27m from the value of its capital investments in 2023.