18 APRIL 1987, Page 5


CITY analysts believe that local councils have run up £5 billion in debts to financial institutions by selling - and leasing back many of their assets. The institutions have in their turn raised considerable money using the assets as security. This apparently means — among other absurdities — that Camden's parking meters are now French- owned. What, one may wonder, will hap- pen if these more or less worthless 'assets' ever have to be called in? Will the people of Camden awake one morning to find gangs of cantonniers digging up the parking meters?