Local Authority Matters – March 2019

Posted by Penny Rinta-Suksi, 26th March 2019
With reduced central funding for local authorities, the need to maintain spending across essential services, and media attention on increases for tax payers, we’re taking a closer look at some of the areas to consider where income and funding can be protected. A survey by Cipfa (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) has reported an average rise in council tax of 4.5% with 8 out of 10 councils in England imposing increases, so it’s no surprise the media has bought local authority spending to the public’s attention once again.

Following on from December’s focus on property investment, this edition’s articles look at how to protect the value of gifted land that could be at risk under law, along with lessons learnt in maximising and correctly recovering owed funds, and risk factors that may affect future construction project development planning as a result of Brexit (apologies, despite the mixture of angst and ennui surrounding this topic, we could not avoid an article using the B-word).

Land gifted by benefactor for use as school reverted back to his descendants when school replaced

Our expert takes a look at a case where the Court of Appeal clarified the legal position under legislation from a very different era but whose terms remain relevant and are still being felt today, and local authorities will need to take note of this ruling and organise their educational buildings provision accordingly.

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Recent Trends: Individual Voluntary Arrangements

The total number of individual insolvencies increased in the first and second quarters of 2018, reaching the highest level since 2012. Individual Voluntary Arrangements (“IVA”) comprised the majority of individual insolvencies, accounting for just over 60% of the total, a much higher proportion than the period prior to 2004 (less than 25%).

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Lessons Learned in 2018

This year there have been some interesting cases looking at the conduct of local authorities and creditors when commencing bankruptcy proceedings or serving court documents on debtors. It is important for local authorities to be aware of these and to consider the correct steps to take when pursuing debts such as unpaid council tax and non-domestic rates.

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Construction product standards – Before and after Brexit

As Brexit draws closer and the noise of nervous speculation grows louder local authorities will welcome clear advice regarding the effect of leaving the EU, especially in a no-deal scenario.

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