Published: 12th May 2020

Finance chiefs have warned that some councils with investments in airports and business parks could face a loss of income as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreck the economy. Speaking yesterday (11 May) in front of the public accounts committee, the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), Rob Whiteman admitted they were ‘quite worried’ about a ‘few’ councils, which were ‘were overexposed through borrowing for commercial purposes’. The cross-party group of MPs is currently investigating the scale of councils investing in commercial properties, like business parks and shopping centres. The investigation follows a report by the National Audit Office, which was published in February and revealed that councils in England spent £6.6bn on property investments between 2016 and 2019. Speaking in front of the committee yesterday, Mr Whiteman mentioned a ‘new concern actually that didn’t exist before COVID-19’, which was around some long-standing investments. … (To read the full article, subscribe below)