PWLB borrowing doubles in August
Councils borrowed £271m from the Public Works Loan Board during August, up from £125m the previous month. Woking Borough Council took the largest single loan of £50m at a rate of 2.52% on a duration of 50 years.
Basildon councillor slams ‘slow’ Javid
Basildon council’s policy and resources committee committee chairman has criticised communities secretary Sajid Javid for failing to provide assurances on local authority funding. Cllr Gavin Callaghan wrote to Javid more than 10 weeks ago, asking for a statement after the government dropped its Local Government Finance Bill. Callaghan said: “We have a promise to our residents to respond to letters within 10 working days. The secretary of state has had 10 weeks to reply and I am still waiting. What we do have now is the announcement of yet further pilots — it is simply not good enough. We need certainty now, not more prevarication”
£40m for new coastal funding round
Ministers have confirmed that £40m will be available through the next round of a fund to support coastal communities. The government has already provided £170m for 278 projects around the country since the Coastal Communities Fund was launched in 2012. Coastal communities minister Jake Berry said: “This year is already looking like another record year for staycations and our latest round of funding will help attract even more visitors to the great British coast so that our coastal communities can thrive.”
Aon Hewitt wins LGPS tender
Aon Hewitt has won a contract to provide advice to tier 3 employers in the Local Government Pension Scheme. The contract, awarded by the LGPS Advisory Board, will see the firm identify duties, benefits, issues and challenges for funds. It will also advise on options for change to improve the funding, administration, participation and member experience.
LGA calls for reignition of devolution agenda
Opportunities for billions of pounds worth of economic growth and hundreds of thousands of new jobs and homes risk being lost as a result of “devolution deadlock” across the country, according to the Local Government Association. Mark Hawthorne, chairman of the LGA’s people and places board, said: “Councils want to see their communities reap the benefits of having greater powers and funding to build more homes, secure the infrastructure essential to economic growth, improve our roads, equip people with the skills they need to succeed and increase access to fast and reliable digital connectivity for all. But there are concerns that devolution discussions have stalled and opportunities are being missed.”
Council fees ‘on the rise’
The total cost of council fees as a proportion of expenditure has risen to 9.7%, according to the TaxPayer’s Alliance. However, responding to the report, Claire Kober, chair of the Local Government Association’s resources board, said: “This report clearly shows that councils receive almost £500m less in income from fees and charges than they did five years ago. Faced with escalating costs and unprecedented funding cuts since 2010, this is a tremendous effort by councils to keep fees and charges low for hard-pressed residents.