In a move to protect front line services councils are being told to sell off billions in assets.
The Telegraph reports that shops, restaurants, pubs, golf clubs, theatres, hotels, stables, football clubs and leisure centres are in the frame for a sell off.
The local government secretary, Eric Pickles, said that he wanted “the public sector to take a good hard look at what they own”.
But many of these assets will provide a service that will be of great value to different groups in our communities, especially the disadvantaged and disabled. Without council ownership they would probably not exist in the first place. Some assets are owned by local government and rented out to users.
But Mr Pickles said that the public probably has no real idea of the huge amount of land and property owned by councils and that “In many cases it goes way beyond traditional front-line services”.
Mr Pickles wants councils to catalogue every asset so that it would ‘help government find innovative ways to utilise them, improve local services, keep council running costs down and save taxpayers’ money’.
The Telegraph report lists the sort of assets that some councils own such as riding stables, cinemas, football clubs, restaurants, cafes, takeaways, hair salons, and even betting shops.
Looks like Mr Pickles wants a list for a quick fire sale at the bottom of the market. But then we’ll probably buy them back later when the price eventually returns to normal, or has even rocketed in a new ‘boom’ period, which is bound to follow sooner or later.
In the short term selling of the Palace of Westminster to a property developer and relocating government up North would raise lots of money, make great savings and regenerate an area outside London.