When I was in my twenties, I worked on a film being shot on location in the London borough of Newham. The film itself, which starred Jude Law and Sadie Frost, was forgettable, but one memory that stayed with me was the all-pervading smell of refined sugar from the nearby Tate & Lyle factory by the river Thames.
For as long as most people can remember, UK municipal finance has been safe and boring. In the wild days of the 1980s, Hammersmith & Fulham council almost went bust speculating in derivatives, and was saved by a landmark House of Lords ruling. Since then, UK council borrowing has been tightly constrained by central government while derivative use has been banned.