Published: 23rd Jan 2019

A senior civil servant has admitted the Government is worried that ‘two or three’ councils are borrowing too much money in order to buy commercial properties. Speaking in front of the communities and local communities parliamentary select committee this week, top officials from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government admitted a few local authorities are borrowing very high amounts of money in proportion to their annual revenue budgets. They were quizzed by committee members following reports that some councils, notably Spelthorne Borough Council, were borrowing large sums to invest in shopping centres, business parks and office space. The Whitehall department’s director general, local government and public services, Dr Jo Farrar told the committee ‘there are only two or three local authorities we are worried about at the moment’. ‘In general, we think local authorities are borrowing responsibly,’ she added. And the department’s permanent secretary, Melanie Dawes, said there … (To read the full article, subscribe below)