When it comes to commercialisation, we can't afford to do nothing

By Hiba Mahamadi | 02 August 2017

‘Can councils afford not to invest in commercial property?’ That’s what Nick Tustian, chief executive at Eastleigh BC, wants to know. 

He doesn’t understand why the Government and the national press are criticising local authorities for buying property to generate income. Given the impending cessation of government funding to local authorities by 2020, Mr Tustian and other council leaders believe this is the only way forward for local authorities. And they are confident they have the necessary skills to do so.

The lack of legal and financial skills at local authorities to make commercially sound decisions was the main criticism in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on council finances published last November. It issued a dire warning: ‘If commercial decisions go wrong, council taxpayers will end up footing the bill and other services will be under threat.’

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