Published: 17th Dec 2018

The local government secretary has hinted the Government may intervene if councils continue to borrow significant amounts of money to buy commercial properties. Speaking in Parliament during the Local Government Finance Settlement last week, James Brokenshire (pictured) said he was aware of a few authorities ‘who are continuing to undertake significant amount of borrowing for commercial purposes’. ‘I share the concerns of CIPFA (the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) and others about the risks that these local authorities are exposing themselves and local taxpayers to,’ Mr Brokenshire told MPs. ‘We are considering with HM Treasury what further interventions may be required.’ Earlier this month, Spelthorne Borough Council defended its policy of investing in commercial properties, following reports in the national press. A report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism claimed the local authority in Surrey has borrowed almost £1bn from the Public Works Loan Board to buy a … (To read the full article, subscribe below)