Headlines: January 24th, 2005

Business taxes raised from new developments should be ploughed back into local communities according to the Local Government Association. The Association is calling for councils to be able to raise funds locally to help foot the bill for major regeneration schemes.The LGA is putting forward a range of radical options for plugging what it sees as the gap in infrastructure funding for new development. The proposals include allowing business taxes from new developments to be put back into local communities rather than going to the Treasury. That, says the LGA, will mean local authorities can deliver essential services such as roads and schools to new communities when they need them rather than doing so years into the future.

The measures have been set out in anticipation of the Government’s ‘Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit’, due to take place at the end of the month. The proposed measures would, in effect, give local authorities the freedom to help pay for new developments locally rather than having to rely solely on central government funding, which, it says, is too slow to appear and does not reflect local needs. The LGA says the proposals are not about increasing taxes but about a more effective distribution of the current taxation system.

Sir Brian Briscoe, the chief executive of the LGA, will speak about the infrastructure funding of sustainable communities at the joint LGA/Town and Country Planning Association meeting at the Creating Sustainable Communities Summit on February 1st. Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, the LGA chairman, said regeneration and new housing was often held back because of a lack of funding for community infrastructure, new roads, new schools and other local facilities. “We want to see money from development and increases in land value ploughed back into essential community infrastructure at the start of the development,” he said.