For local authority finance directors, 2018 promises to be the toughest of their careers- with many just trying to stay afloat, since central government funding has been continually slashed in recent years.

A large number of councils- thought to be 9 out of 10- are expected to bust their budgets in the months to come. Last weekend Northamptonshire County Council was declared bankrupt, even the richest county Surrey is £100m in the red.

This inevitably leads the FDs of these councils to consider drastic action to repair their position and to be able to continue to provide services- council tax increases of up to 6% are being discussed.

A number of local authorities have taken a long term view and invested in a range of assets to ensure long term financial resilience- most of these are commercial sites in the south underpinned by valuable property assets- not a viable solution in other parts of the country.

The challenge for these FDs are immense- unless a new formula can be reached the position of many councils could become untenable.