In 2012, Leeds councillors considered a loan to help fund a new bus station in the city. This may sound strange to some, but in recent years, local government finance has been at the fore of the government’s austerity measures, and it is unlikely that Leeds City Council could have afforded the new station without some form of finance. There are a limited number of options open to local government to fund new projects, so unsurprisingly they considered borrowing the money.
The majority of money councils receive comes from central government, and although it has been reduced over the last few years, development has to continue for cities like Leeds. Growth depends on having the right appeal to businesses – suitable housing for their employees, leisure facilities and good transport links. Although goods won’t be travelling by bus, employees might and a dilapidated terminus sends out the wrong impression. Businesses want to locate in go ahead, ambitious cities and this means redevelopment of inner cities. Large industrial cities like Leeds have suffered harshly in recent years and need extensive regeneration, like new bus stations.
Council income is often low, and council functions such as social services and education are under increasing strain with an ageing population and increased migration to cities, meaning larger classes and fewer small rural schools. Councils are no longer in a position to build up huge reserves, and are encouraged to use their savings to keep public services going instead. Even if they had big reserves, the amount needed to build a new bus station would be far beyond a council’s reach.
Borrowing the money was one of the limited options open to the Council when it sought to build a new bus station. Sometimes, taking out no credit check loan is the best option to achieve the necessary growth needed. Hardly surprising that Leeds councillors seriously considered it for their new bus station.