By Daniel Hunter

Town halls are being urged to apply for grants of up to £25,000 from an LGA programme intended to help put councils at the heart of boosting local economies.

This forms a strand of the LGA's ongoing campaign to encourage growth and jobs in local areas across the country. It will offer participating councils both cash and expertise to make better use of buildings and land.

The public sector across the country currently holds and uses assets worth £350 billion. Work from the LGA has shown that locally run schemes can save over 20 per cent in running costs and raise over £100 million in capital receipts.

"Councils across the country are facing unprecedented cuts of 28 per cent in the current spending review, while unemployment remains high," Councillor Peter Box, Chair of the LGA's Economy and Transport Board, said.

"This programme can play an important role in the push for more growth in local areas, by making buildings and assets work for local places.

"We are urging councils to come forward to apply for this funding to help drive economic growth in their local areas."

Successful councils will need to match the funding they receive. As part of their applications, they will also need to show how they intend to work with charities, other town halls and local firms, and how they plan to utilise buildings and assets in the local area.

The LGA has written to chief executives across the country urging them to apply for the funding. Up to 15 town halls (in addition to the existing 26 CAP Pathfinder councils) will be able to utilise resources from the new programme.

The deadline for applications to the scheme is 15 June and the successful applicants will be notified by 6 July.

Other work from the LGA's local growth campaign has focussed around improving local high streets and pressing the Government to extend their city deals programme.

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