Ministers have played down the prospect of a widespread crackdown on councils that borrow for commercial reasons.
The Treasury and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) are considering whether ‘further interventions’ are required to slow the commercialisation trend, which has led to councils spending £4.1bn on commercial property over the last four years.
Giving evidence to MPs before Christmas, financial secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said: ‘There are risks that local authorities get overextended and take on too much risk.
'We will be looking at the instances where this is happening and determining whether these arrangements look, in the round, to be sensible or too risky.
Speaking to The MJ, local government minister Rishi Sunak said it was wrong to characterise Whitehall moves in this area as a ‘crackdown’.
To read the full interview with Rishi Sunak visit The MJ (£).