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St Helens Borough Council approves reserve to drive future growth

Article date - 12 November 2020

At a Cabinet meeting yesterday (Wednesday 11 November) St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet approved a £10 million reserve to help the authority generate additional revenue streams and support the purchase of strategic investment opportunities that will add value and support the council's future growth plans.
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Cabinet members approved the implementation of an investment, land and property acquisition strategy which will provide a framework for considering investment opportunities that will provide long term and sustainable income streams for the council, therefore increasing its financial resilience. It will also provide the ability to secure land and property that will add value to regeneration proposals that directly increase revenue to the council.

The council, like many across the country, is under increasing pressure to reduce expenditure, while continuing to provide vital services to residents and manage an ever-increasing demand for those services.

Land and property acquisitions for long-term investments is a recognised strategy used by many councils for generating sustained revenue income to help support frontline services.

Cabinet approved the creation of a £10 million reserve which will be funded via capital receipts, income received when assets such as buildings or land are sold. The strategy aims to build a diverse asset portfolio across a range of property types and locations and land, to ensure that risk is kept to a minimum and balanced against return. All proposed acquisitions will be the subject of rigorous analysis and appropriate due diligence, with the primary focus being investments within the borough.

An investment property acquisition group was also approved, which will be chaired by the Council Leader, David Baines and will also consist of a number of senior councillors and council officers and appropriate investment advisers.

Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning said:

“The substantially reduced funding that the council now receives from Government has meant that the council has had to be innovative in finding other ways to generate future income streams.

“Taking this approach to investment in part of our long-term financial planning, helps us to provide income streams that will enable us to support the delivery of vital frontline services to residents across our borough.

“Crucially it also allows us to explore new opportunities that will support and drive the boroughs growth agenda and help to make St Helens an outstanding place to live, work and play".