My eye was caught earlier this week by the news that Travelodge, which runs budget hotels, has been approaching local authorities to get them to build hotels for Travelodge to run. The arrangement will enable to councils to get a returrn on land, as well as a degree of city centre investment. It needs, however, loans (or at least, loan sanction) from the Treasury. There have been some initial developments on this basis.
I’ve long been of the view that government, and local authorities, should be able to do whatever is appropriate to advance the welfare of their citizens; that’s what they’re there for. I’ve suggested, too, that governments should be able to engage in enterprise and make profits for its citizens. The intriguing thing about the Travelodge proposal is that the initiative has come from the private sector – which seems to make it politically acceptable – whereas initatives from within the public sector are knocked back. Active government is one of the principal means of generating economic activity, employment and growth, and any policy for regeneration depends on it.