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Is Iceland bank thawing over council money?

PUBLISHED: 16:39 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:17 23 August 2010

INITIAL talks between council finance chiefs and their Icelandic creditors to recover the £920 million invested in the country s banks have been described as positive. Nick Vickers, head of financial services at Kent County Council (KCC), and a counterp

INITIAL talks between council finance chiefs and their Icelandic creditors to recover the £920 million invested in the country's banks have been described as positive.

Nick Vickers, head of financial services at Kent County Council (KCC), and a counterpart at Barnet council met with representatives from Glitnir and Landsbanki banks last Wednesday..

The meeting was the first opportunity KCC had since the crisis broke enabling it to assess its chances of retrieving invested funds.

KCC Cabinet member for finance Nick Chard said: "The meeting was the first step in a very complex process, but initial indications are positive. We are determined to follow the process through and fight to get every penny back. We cannot comment on specific details of the meeting at this stage for legal reasons, but we will continue to update Kent residents as we progress."

Jim Beattie, chairman of the Swanley Chamber of Commerce, said: "The loss of the £50 million has definitely been negative. We regularly discuss business rate rebates with the councils. I would imagine rebates would suffer from the loss.

"If there is a shortfall it is unlikely they would have a lot of money to play with."

Mr Beattie, 56, added: "I doubt very much they will get all of it back, they may get some, but not all of it. Iceland has effectively gone bankrupt. You can't get blood out of a stone."

KCC has a total of £32 million invested in Glitnir and Landsbanki, with the remaining £18 million placed in the Heritable Bank.

But because Heritable is based in the UK it is likely that a portion of money will eventually be recovered.

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