Published: 21st Apr 2020

An influential cross-party group of MPs has launched an inquiry into councils investing in commercial property. In its call for evidence, the public accounts committee (PAC) said there has been a ‘recent step-change’ in the scale that councils have been investing in shopping centres, office blocks and industrial estates. The call quotes 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. The NAO report also noted changes made by CIPFA and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) around how councils can invest in such properties. It also found that the data MHCLG collects has ‘limited usefulness for monitoring commercial activity and assessing its risks’. The public accounts committee said it will be questioning officials from the MHCLG on ‘gaps’ in commercial skills in local government, and the extent to … (To read the full article, subscribe below)