William Eichler 21 September 2023

Cash-strapped councils forced to sell £15bn of assets

Cash-strapped councils forced to sell £15bn of assets image
Image: Richard OD / Shutterstock.com.

An estimated 75,000 public assets worth £15bn have been sold by cash-strapped English councils since 2010, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

A new study published today by the think tank draws on local government data and statistics from a Freedom of Information request to highlight the loss of public assets over the last 13 years.

On average more than 6,000 council assets worth around £1.2bn annually have been sold every year since 2010 due in large part to the Government’s policy of austerity.

Only 2,500 assets came newly into community ownership since 2010, according to IPPR. The same number of council-owned buildings and assets are will also be at risk in the next five years.

The report follows news that Birmingham City Council will sell further assets to attempt to improve its financial position after declaring effective bankruptcy.

Director of IPPR North Zoë Billingham said: ‘People have lost far too much over the last 13 years. Communities have lost billions worth of public land and buildings in their areas, local safety nets are crumbling all whilst government plays fast and loose with major regional infrastructure projects.

‘People want and deserve better than this. They want functioning public services, to receive a fair share of investment and to restore pride in their places. Regional rebalancing must be reprioritised by central government and through support of regional leaders who continue to champion the agenda locally.’

If this article was of interest, then check out our feature, 'Preventing future Section 114 notices'.

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