Our council appears to be more interested in buying (presumably with loans) commercial property – not necessarily, perhaps even most unlikely within its own boundary
“Sixty local authority leaders have pledged an immediate drive to build thousands more council homes by exploiting new rules announced by Theresa May, it has emerged.
Dozens of councils across the country, led by both Labour and the Tories, have signed an open letter vowing to use new powers to borrow more money to build a new generation of properties. It has led to hopes of the biggest council house-building programme since the 1970s.
However, it leaves Philip Hammond with a major headache ahead of his budget later this month. The extra borrowing could add £1bn to the deficit and further constrain his room for manoeuvre, as he already needs to find money to fund the NHS. Tory MPs also believe they have won a battle for help to be handed to benefit claimants set to lose out under universal credit.
Reducing a popular jobs incentive, imposing a new digital services tax and curbing pension tax relief are all being examined as ways to raise funds. Hammond is attempting to deal with a shortfall in the public finances set to hit about £100bn over five years.
A major chunk of the shortfall comes from measures favoured by No 10 and imposed on the chancellor, who had been keen to keep his budget as unspectacular as possible due to the uncertainty ahead created by the Brexit negotiations.
Hammond is expected to press ahead with unilateral action on tech giants to raise some funds. A digital services tax will be designed to impose a levy on tech firms for the consumer data they collect and deploy. Treasury officials like the measure because they believe the companies will not be able to pass the tax on to consumers. ….”