Government sticking to business rates uprating change
The Treasury has scotched rumours that it would take pressure off local government by scrapping its proposed move to uprate business rates using the consumer price index (CPI). Hopes had been growing in the sector that the government would stick with its current retail price index calculation, saving £1bn for local government over the first three years. However, according to pub trade magazine the Morning Advertiser, the Treasury said: “We are committed to switching business rates indexation from RPI to CIP from 2020 and will introduce legislation in due course.”
Javid accused of misleading MPs over fire safety funding
Communities secretary Sajid Javid has been accused of misleading MPs by denying any councils has asked for extra money to carry out safety work following the Grenfell Tower disaster. Javid told the House of Commons last week that “not a single local authority or housing association has approached me or my department to ask for any assistance”. Huffington Post this week reported that at least five councils have written to the minister asking for help.
Boycott reference removed from LGPS guidance
The government has removed a reference banning Local Government Pension Scheme funds from implementing boycotts and divestment from foreign countries. Guidance has removed the wording that previously said that “using pension policies to pursue boycotts, divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence industries are inappropriate other than where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the government”. However, the wording was ruled unlawful by the High Court last month.
Greater Manchester drafting capital plan for natural assets
A plan aimed at providing better protection for the environment is being written by Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The Natural Capital Investment Plan would see a fund targeted at natural assets identified as providing strategic benefits to local communities “either through the services provided or environmental issues mitigated”, according to an authority report.
Liverpool suing scheme developer
The developer behind the New Chinatown scheme in Liverpool is being sued by the city’s council for almost £1m after the regeneration work stalled. The scheme, near the city’s cathedral, was planned to provide 790 homes, a hotel and shops. The council is demanding Chinatown Development Company forfeits two leases on the site and pays £950,000.