Think tank finds interest in elements of localism agenda, such as Tax Increment Financing

Almost half of London councils are looking at Tax Increment Financing, prudential borrowing against Community Infrastructure Levy revenues and pro-active approaches to asset and land management, according to a new survey.

Research from the Future of London think tank has revealed that while councils in the capital are suspicious about the government’s approach to localism, they are exploring its potential freedoms.

With just one day to go before the government launches its National Planning Policy Framework, the survey of senior planning and regeneration officers at London boroughs found that more than 70% believed that individual components of the localism agenda “may either be useful or very useful in their area”.

The think tank said nearly half of respondents said their authority was going to be taking the General Power of Competence “at face value and were looking at new ways to fund and deliver development and regeneration in their area”.

Future of London chief executive Ben Harrison said while the localism agenda had very specific implications for the capital because of the way it had empowered regional government, councils had also benefited.

“Against a backdrop of public funding cuts, London boroughs are actively exploring the potential for the Community Infrastructure Levy, New Homes Bonus, business rate devolution, and Housing Revenue Account reform to boost growth in their area,” he said.

“No one tool will be sufficient to meet the challenges they face, so it is vital that London boroughs take an innovative approach to the new powers that are on offer.”

The survey features in Future of London’s new report Localism in London: Implications for Planning and Regeneration.