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Public Works Loan Board (PWLB)

About the PWLB

The Public Works Loan Board is an independent and unpaid statutory body which originated in 1793 and became established on a permanent basis in 1817. Since 1946 it has consisted of up to twelve PDFCommissioners (53KB) appointed by the Crown to hold office for four years; three Commissioners retire each year on 1 April but are eligible for re-appointment.

The functions of the Commissioners, derived chiefly from the Public Works Loans Act 1875 and the National Loans Act 1968, are to consider loan applications from local authorities and other prescribed bodies and, where loans are made, to collect the repayments. At present nearly all borrowers are local authorities requiring loans for capital purposes. The security for money borrowed by a local authority, together with interest, is charged indifferently on all its revenues; all securities created rank equally without any priority. The Commissioners are legally required, before making a loan, to satisfy themselves that there is sufficient security for its repayment.

Moneys are provided by Act of Parliament, drawn from the National Loans Fund and rates of interest are determined by the Treasury. The Board's accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General whose reports on them are laid before Parliament.

The PWLB has operated within the United Kingdom Debt Management Office since July 2002.

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