St Helens eyes acquisitions to fight dwindling revenues

The council is to implement a strategy that would allow it to buy assets in the borough to boost revenues in the face of “unprecedented challenges” including lack of Government funding and the pandemic.

A report to the cabinet of St Helens Council said: “The council faces unprecedented challenges…and overwhelming pressures on essential services. Local authorities are under increasing pressure to reduce expenditure while improving services and managing ever-increasing demand.” 

The type of acquisition that the authority is eyeing under its Investment Land & Property Acquisition Strategy would “generally be made on the basis that it presents a strong long-term income stream,” the report noted.  

Acquisitions that support the council’s existing regeneration strategy would also be considered, it said. 

Decisions on deals would be made by a group chaired by council leader David Baines, alongside the cabinet members for finance and economic regeneration and housing, and the executive director of place and the executive director for corporate services. 

Investment would be focused on assets within St Helens, but opportunities outside the borough may also be considered “in exceptional circumstances”, according to the report. 

The council would fund acquisitions either through borrowing or by deploying its cash reserves, or a combination of both, it added. 

St Helens Council is expected to approve the strategy at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. 

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There seems to be a great deal of talk, people coming and going, plans changing, large salaries being paid and all the time the little heart that St Helens had, is being allowed to die. How much has been spent on grandiose ideas that are either not what is needed in our town or big wages being paid for no improvement. A lot of money has been, and still is being, wasted. Let’s have less talk and more ‘do’.

By MarcIa Whittaker

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