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Prescott aids local infrastructure funding

DEPUTY PRIME Minister John Prescott this week unveiled plans to simplify local government funding and help councils spend more on infrastructure.

He wants them to differentiate between money they borrow and loans taken out by privately funded groups building new infrastructure.

Clearer definitions could reduce constraints on the number of privately financed projects. They would also give local authorities more freedom to set their own spending priorities.

As up front funding for privately financed projects is raised by private groups, it will be considered 'off balance sheet' and therefore not subject to limits on local authority borrowing.

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