Trust districts to do what’s needed
A lower PWLB borrowing rate would make a significant difference to the viability and deliverability of regeneration schemes, argues Simone Hines.
Two birds one stone on audit
The recommendation in the Redmond review to push back the accounts completion and audit dates is, in the view of Simone HInes, a backward step, 'a point the Society of District Council Treasurers made during the review process'.
HRAs need certainty over their future sustainability
The absence of any funding for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) means the impact on the health of our communities could go beyond the COVID pandemic, according to Simone Hines.
It makes good sense to diversify income
Some of the commentary on commerciality implies councils are going into these investments recklessly, and that is simply not the case, says Simone Hines. Continuing to be creative and innovative with council finances is going to be vital, she adds.
Let’s get realistic about getting back to ‘a new normal’
Simone Hines hopes that once the details are out of the latest round of COVID-19 emergency funding ‘the draft S114 notice can stay in the drawer for a bit longer’. She doesn’t want to think about the alternative for districts.
Districts need more certainty on funding
We need a better idea of proposals and transitional arrangements on New Homes Bonus and business rates, says Simone Hines - and the recent extension of various business rates reliefs are raising tricky questions, she adds.
The future of audit and the Redmond Review
Simone Hines is looking forward to seeing the outcomes of the Redmond Review into the future of local public audit - and she's cautious about suggestions that accounts completion and audit deadlines may be pushed back again.
PWLB rate hike will slow down regeneration
The unfortunate consequence of the immediate 1% hike in the Public Works Loan Board rate will be a slowdown in town centre regeneration and housing developments, says Simone Hines.
Housebuilding plans still constrained by affordability
Simone HInes was hoping for confirmation in the spending round that the business rates reset will be deferred until 2021/22 and for measures to improved the ability of local authorities to boost council housebuilding
The uncertainty principle
Simone Hines says that when the variables are so great – e.g. a full business rates reset or no reset – 'it’s still hard to know where to pitch our financial position to members'.
Taking the lead on town centres
The local government finance system has become much more reliant on economic growth, says Simone Hines. It needs to weigh up the risks of doing this at every step of the way.