Pickles urges councils to prepare for next Spending Review

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has urged councils to start preparing the ground for the next Spending Review.

Speaking at the launch of a Localis think-tank report on infrastructure funding, the communities secretary stressed the coalition’s prime goal of deficit reduction would continue to shape spending and borrowing powers.

Mr Pickles added: ‘The new spending period should be used to renegotiate the size of that [funding] envelope to ensure there is enough headroom in order to create tax increment finance and other functions.’

‘I would expect a much more grown up relationship between local authorities and central government in arriving at the final sum,’ said Mr Pickles, who endorsed the paper’s call for a renewal of the UK’s infrastructure.

A central recommendation of the study, jointly published with Lloyds Banking Group, calls for government help in establishing a œ30bn National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) ? along similar lines to one set up by President Obama in the US last November.

To help capitalise the bank, the authors suggest the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) should, over four years, provide œ12bn directly and through bond issues. They suggest the remainder should comprise œ8bn from the latest round of quantitative easing and œ10bn from private pension funds.

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