The New West End Company BID in London’s west end is to approach the British treasury on behalf of landowners to seek loans for regeneration, reports the Financial Times. The loan would be secured through a new mechanism called Tax Increment Finance (Tif). “The group will approach the Treasury this autumn about joining a pilot for Tifs, a means of raising funds for regeneration by allowing property owners to borrow money from the government based on the future tax gains from the resulting developments. Tifs have been widely used in the US,” says the FT.
The New west End Company wish to make “improvements” to the eastern end of Oxford Street and in particular around the new Crossrail station due to open in 2017. Already landowners in and around this area have lobbied the government to keep funding for Crossrail secured. Landowners and deveopers have also lobbied local authorities London Borough of Camden and City of Westminster for a large amounts of section 106 money from developments either completed or proposed in and around the Crossrail station.
Why isn’t the New West End Company seeking private loans for regeneration that improves their trading environment?
Targets for new housing in and around the Crossrail development have also been reduced. Originally there was a target of 1,000 new homes to be created in the area, but now this have been reduced to only 200. There would have been a target of affordable and socially-rented accommodation to be linked to these housing developments. The main mechanism for building much needed social housing is now to be achieved from commercial developments. Yet these targets are being reduced.
Money that should be used to provide much-needed social housing is being either given or loaned to commercial interests. This is happening because central government, the London government and local government are paying more attention to the wants of big business and less and less regard to needs or ordinary people and their neighbourhoods.