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Action needed to meet infrastructure challenge

A new system of US-style public bond issues will help ensure that Britain’s roads, social housing, public buildings and other vital infrastructure are not left to crumble because of public spending cuts, council leaders have claimed.

A report by the Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, calls on Ministers to set up a new system of tax-free municipal bonds to allow vital long term investment in roads and other major projects to continue without driving up the deficit.

The report also calls for wide-ranging reform of the way the public sector deals with infrastructure projects to cut waste and ensure that taxpayers get the maximum value out of every pound invested in projects. 

It also argues for councils to have more flexibility to use their assets and attract investment from the private sector to fund the infrastructure that is vital to economic recovery.

The report argues that action is needed to fill the estimated £50 billion a year gap in spending on infrastructure maintenance and rebuilding despite expected deep cuts in public spending.

Baroness Margaret Eaton, Chairman of the LGA, said:

“There are going to be deep cuts and councils are going to have to make very difficult decisions on spending to keep vital frontline services running.  

“Despite the extremely tough financial climate we need to avoid storing up big bills for the future. Councils want to make sure there are homes that people can afford, roads and public transport that ensure people can access jobs, and many other things like schools, hospitals, green space that will attract employers and businesses to help the economy recover. 

“Our proposals could allow councils to raise money prudently and sustainably to keep our roads free from potholes, fund better public transport and make sure schools and community centres do not crumble.”

Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: 020 7664 3333