Public assets sold to make ends meet

By Luchia Robinson in collaboration with The Bureau Local

More than £35million of land and property has been sold by Haringey Council to plug gaps left from government funding cuts.

An investigation led by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, found that between 2014 and 2018, Haringey Council sold 30 spaces and buildings, as a way of bringing in extra income.

Half of these assets were spaces in Tottenham, with a site in Ashley Road, N17 being sold for as little as £1 in 2016.

Lee Valley Technopark, now Harris Academy Tottenham, was sold for £9million in 2015. A further plot of land and a building on the Ashley road depot was later sold to the Harris Federation in March last year for £1.4million.

In 2016, the government gave local authorities in England, the power to use capital asset sales to fund “transformational” projects; ensure long-term savings, and cover day-to-day running costs.

Haringey Civic Centre

Haringey Council is one of 64 local authorities (one of five councils in London) to have used these ‘flexible capital receipts’ to fund redundancies- these councils spending £118million in total.

Prior to 2016, revenue from public land and property sales had to be used for the purchasing of new assets.

According to Haringey Council funding from central government has reduced by £122million since 2010- a 59% reduction that has led to 45% fewer staff. An additional £20million will need to be found to offset the budget in 2020, and in subsequent years.

Read the full report Sold from Under You by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2019-03-04/sold-from-under-you