New Council Commercial Companies Launch
Austerity has included large reductions in government funds to local Councils. Many have struggled, some have failed to provide the services needed or have gone broke. Colchester Borough Council has had to manage a huge challenge as well.
Changes to the New Homes Bonus payments means this grant to Colchester Borough Council will reduce by £1.34m next year, with further reductions of £1.3m forecast in the following three years. Over four years the Council's core Revenue Support Grant will have reduced from £5.7 million to just £285,000 next year.
Your Lib Dem led Council's response has included setting up three commercial companies, under the parent organisation of Colchester Commercial (Holdings) Ltd (CCHL), of which the Council is the sole shareholder. This means that profits made by its three subsidiaries will be directed straight back into the council for the benefit of the people of Colchester.
These Companies go live on 1 April 2018. One will will take over the management of Colchester Events Company, which promotes and hires out a variety of council venues and assets and Helpline, a care line service supporting vulnerable residents. Another will provide a set of professional property and commercial development skills and expertise to the Council and other clients.
A third will be a housing development company, to provide a local solution to the provision of high quality new homes for sale and rent. They will work with industry partners to undertake an ambitious programme of development with up to 300 new homes over three years, and develop a pipeline of sites for building and regeneration opportunities.
Lib Dem Councillor Annie Feltham, Chair of the CCHL Board, said: 'With the continuing reduction in our government funding we have to be innovative and dynamic in how we generate the funding we need to maintain and develop the services our residents need and deserve. The launch of these three companies this will enable the council to investigate new business opportunities and allows the council to harness its expertise and innovative ideas, to work with partners to ensure we maximise our assets and become more financially self-sufficient'.
Prudent, responsible, socially aware: our Lib Dem led Council is managing challenge and preparing for the future with 'profits for the benefit of the people'.