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A Narrow Escape for South Hams

October 19, 2018 6:07 PM
By John Birch

According to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, councils have invested £4bn in land and buildings in the financial year up to March 2018, an 43% increase from 2016/17. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy has raised concerns over these figures.
CIPA has released a statement suggesting that local authorities were investing disproportionately to their resources, which is contrary to the requirements of the CIPFA's Prudential Code and Treasury Management code.

Their statement says that: "In some cases these investments have been financed by borrowing" with an "acceleration of the practice of borrowing to invest in commercial property", highlighting that councils "must not borrow more than or in advance of their needs purely in order to profit from the investment of the extra sums borrowed".

Commercial property in London
The Executive at SHDC wanted to take this dangerous route and planned to borrow £80 milion for commercial property investment in other parts of the UK. They were stopped by opposition to this madcap scheme led by Lib Dem councillors.