Small investors will be able to invest as little as £5 in green projects as councils start borrowing in small amounts from their own residents for the first time in decades. This autumn Leeds city council will become the first big metropolitan local authority to tap its own residents for funds — intended to add solar panels to city buildings — after pioneering moves this summer by smaller councils in West Berkshire and Warrington. Community municipal investments enable small investors to back projects to fight climate change and to support work in their own communities, while also giving them a near-guaranteed return of 1.2 per cent a year. Councils used to tap local residents by issuing bonds available to retail investors, but the practice died out in the 1990s, when investment was restricted to institutional investors prepared to stump up large amounts. West Berkshire district council was the guinea pig in July and so far it has raised £600,000 of a planned £1 million from 480 investors. Last week Warrington launched its own money-raising plan and by Friday had raised almost £100,000 from 80 investors.
Times 1st Sept 2020 read more »