Inquiry into councils property investment
An inquiry examining investments in commercial property by local councils has been launched. The Public Accounts Committee of MPs will be taking evidence on the commercial skills available to local councils making property investments.
Figures show local authorities spent £6.6bn on commercial properties in the past three years. In Somerset three councils have spent well in excess of £100m in that period. SSDC, Mendip and Sedgemoor in that order have invested heavily and largely outside Somerset.
The committee will also question officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government on how it formally monitors commercial activity and long-term exposure to risk.
The committee is also exploring how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting on local government finances.
Local councils in Somerset have regularly taken The Leveller to task for our criticism of these investments. It is good to see that elsewhere there are others sharing our concerns.