Revenue raising in a tough financial climate
There are several councils that have looked at ways to raise money, given that the funding from central government has reduced significantly and local councils will have lost nearly 60p for every £1 that they received by 2020 this is playing heavily on the minds of those who control the purse strings.
Over and above the usual revenue generators such as parking, charging additional money for services such as recycling centers what are local authorities doing to increase the money in their pockets?
Commercial property purchasing
Many councils are now investing in commercial property that will hopefully be income generators through the collection of rent and rates.
These councils will potentially be able to look at the changing work landscape and create shared office space and hubs for those who might be lonely working from home, they will hopefully be creating spaces that can be agile and flexible and can work for their local residents and business communities.
Local councils have stakes in airports, this means they regularly receive dividends on this asset. The airports that are part owned by the public sector include Bournemouth, Blackpool Manchester and East Midlands to name but a few.
The Borough of Southwark, with the juxtaposition of areas of derivation coupled with expensive developments such as the Shard, has increased revenue by £16 million through the development of new property including both residential and commercial property.
Water and sewage license application
Blackpool council applied for and was granted their own water and sewage license delivering significant cost savings in this area. Cllr Fred Jackson commented “We are the first public sector organisation to apply for this licence. There are many benefits such as reducing administration costs and cutting out the margin that goes to others in the supply chain. We will pay the price that retailers pay to the water company which will deliver significant savings.”
Find out more about self-supply here.
A tourist tax?
Bath has mulled over the idea of a tourist tax and would permission to implement this from Central Government, Council leader Tim Warren said that while a levy wouldn't make a "big difference" to visitors' hotel bills, it would have an impact on the council's budget for services such as street improvements, we are not asking for more money, we are asking for the opportunity to make our own money."
We are sure that as local authorities think outside the box and look at additional ways to both raise revenue and save money without sacrificing the quality and integrity of the services they offer to the local community.