Owe the bank £1 and it’s your problem. Owe them £1m and the problem is the bank’s, or so the saying goes….
t’s a bit early for lists of the best things of 2018, but my favourite book was “Our Towns” by Jim and Deb Fellows, based on their 100,000 mile trip round smaller US cities and the city led renewal and community action that is thriving. I recommend it. It’s hard to see from this side of the pond, but the party divisions which are paralysing Washington are much less of an issue locally. Whilst national politics are totally dysfunctional, cities and towns are just getting on with what they need to do.
With the outcome of Brexit negotiations still up in the air, the Government’s scope for a major shift in direction at this autumn’s Budget was limited. Nevertheless, this is a Budget that supports investment and growth, and local growth in particular.
The Chancellor reiterated Government’s commitment to boosting productivity, and to regional and city growth to achieve it. There are new sources of funding at all levels of local government and these sit within the overarching structure of the Industrial Strategy published last year. So although the country’s finances and policies will be ultimately determined by what happens with Brexit – Philip Hammond has reserved the right to upgrade the 2019 Spending Review to a full Budget should no deal with the EU be struck – this Budget offers much of interest to places in the interim.
By Ben Lucas
New Zealand has a unique opportunity to develop a new model of sustainable inclusive growth that could put very different values at the heart of its economy. The new, Jacinda Ardern led, Labour, New Zealand First and Green Coalition has been in power for a year now. Its ambition was highlighted by the decision of Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First, to act as Ardern’s kingmaker on the grounds that the country was ready for “capitalism with a human face”.
Theresa May’s recent announcement of the end of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap has received a very warm welcome across the local government sector. Since the changes to the HRA system in 2012, the chorus of voices demanding either an increase in the HRA cap, or its abolition entirely, have become louder and louder as the cap has become an increasing barrier to local government getting housing delivered.