LIFT companies are in advanced talks with councils about plans that would see parts of a local authority’s estate sold off to raise money for urgent capital projects.
The public-private partnerships formed under the Local Improvement Finance Trust scheme would then finance and deliver the new schemes themselves and be paid back from the property sale.
LIFT firms believe their experience in asset management, their ability to raise private finance and the long-term nature of their partnerships with councils leaves them well placed to carry out the plans.
David Pokora, executive director of the LIFT Council, told H&V News rationalisation was the only way to fund necessary capital work.
He said: “The next five-year period is about rationalisation in health, education and other services. If you have 100 properties you can look at what you need and reinvest the money from selling what you deem surplus.
“We all have to live with the Comprehensive Spending Review that says savings have to be found. We need to look very critically at what we’ve got and see whether we can utilise asset managers such as LIFT companies to come up with an investment plan that rationalises the estate.”
He said LIFT companies were approaching councils, and that interest was being shown in the joint ventures delivering a broad range of schemes, particularly education.
A spokesman for Local Partnerships, which provides councils with commercial expertise, said at least one council had drawn up an implementation plan.
A series of LIFT companies are set to enter the market for sub-contractors in the coming months, according to Mr Pokora.
“Lots of LIFT companies were started about five years ago,” he said. “Each will have different priorities but it is not about lowest cost. It is about how people work as partnerships and how they approach schemes.”
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