The Government has relaxed its own borrowing rules to help cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council balance its books. In a highly unusual move, the Government has allowed the county council to keep the proceeds from the sale of its One Angel Square headquarters to help plug its financial black hole. The authority sold One Angel Square to Canada Life Investments in a 35-year lease-back deal in April. Local authorities are not normally allowed to use what are known as capital receipts in this manner, but a report published yesterday by the commissioners appointed by the Government to rebuild Northamptonshire confirmed they had granted the council’s request to use £70 million of capital receipts to help balance its books. ‘This significant step – called capitalisation dispensation – will help the council to reduce its deficit and put it on a more sustainable financial footing,’ said the Government in a statement. Northamptonshire County … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Jamie Hailstone

Senior reporter – NewStart