Councils reveal spending?

Councils have spent billions on commercial properties

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yougov.co.uk

Council investment into shops and cinemas should be transparent, say Brits | YouGov

But the public is split on whether councils should be investing in commercial properties in the first place

Central government funding to councils has been halved in real terms since 2010. One method by which councils are topping up their budgets is investing in commercial properties, everything from cinemas to shopping centres. In many cases these purchases are funded by borrowing.

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www.thebureauinvestigates.com

The public service gamble: Councils borrowing billions to play the property market

Some of the smallest councils in England have built up huge debts by buying supermarkets, business parks and offices, tying the future of their public services to the uncertainty of the property market.

Councils across England have borrowed massive sums - in some cases the equivalent of ten times their annual budgets - to finance the purchase of real estate, our investigation has found.

In the last two years, the number of councils investing in property has doubled. In the past financial year alone, councils spent a total of £1.8 billion on investment properties, a six-fold increase from 2013-14.

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