LGPS pool launches global infrastructure fund
The Local Pensions Partnership (LPP) has launched a new global infrastructure fund. The fund will bring together the infrastructure assets of LPP’s two shareholder pension schemes, the Lancashire County Pension Fund (LCPF) and the London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA). The total committed capital of the fund is expected to be over £1.5 n after the final close scheduled for September 2017. The Fund was launched with a committed capital of £688m.
Business rate switch ‘could be dropped’
Ministers could drop plans to switch the inflation rate used to determine business rates to the retail price index, according to The Times. The paper said that the move, which would hit councils to the tune of more than £1bn, could be abandoned to pay for an increase in public sector pay.
Investors appointed to LGPS passive framework
Four investment managers have been appointed to a new £140m framework for LGPS passive investment management services. BlackRock Investment Management, Deutsche Asset Management, Legal & General Investment Management and UBS Asset Management have won places on the framework. All LGPS funds and pools will be able to call on services from the firms.
Councils ‘spend more than £1bn on property’
Local authorities are estimated to have spent more than £1bn on property assets in 2016, according to a new survey by the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. APSE chief executive Paul O’Brien said: “Many councils across the UK are now forced to consider new ways of raising the money necessary to continue to offer the public excellent neighbourhood services. This report shows that property investment, if conducted properly, provides councils with the opportunity to raise substantial funds.”
£2.3bn available for councils to fund housing infrastructure
Bidding has opened for allocations to councils from a new £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund. The fund is divided into two parts. The first, a marginal viability fund, will pay for “the final or missing piece of infrastructure funding to get additional sites allocated or existing sites unblocked quickly”, according to DCLG. The second will cover a small number of strategic and high-impact projects.
PWLB loans leap during June
Lending to local authorities through the Public Works Loan Board totalled £223m in June. The figure is well up on the May figure of £63m. The largest loan made during June was to London Borough of Enfield, which took two loans totalling £41m.
Council set to take on failed academy PFI debt
Wirral Council is set to take on £21m of PFI debt owed by an academy school which is closing due to a shortage of pupils. According to a report in Schools Week, the PFI contract still has around 15 years left to run and is costing around £600,000 a year to maintain.
Shared service deals ‘save £600m’
Shared service arrangements have saved English councils more than £600m, according to the Local Government Association. The latest LGA shared services map says that 98% of councils are now involved in sharing arrangements with other councils. William Nunn, chair of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board, said: “Shared services are no longer just the realm of the most innovative councils, but rather, standard practice for councils to improve services, increase resilience and save money in times of significant change, cementing councils’ reputation as the most efficient part of the public sector.”