Portsmouth City Council seeks to launch £30m property buying drive

Up to �30m could be spent buying property to help Portsmouth City Council generate money
Up to �30m could be spent buying property to help Portsmouth City Council generate money
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  • Plans to borrow £30m to buy up property revealed by Portsmouth City Council
  • Scheme ensures authority continues to generate money despite government cuts
  • But Lib Dems say administration isn’t making enough use of existing assets
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UP to £30m could be spent buying property to help Portsmouth City Council generate money as the prospect of more cuts looms.

The Tory administration is considering putting together a multi-million pound investment fund for the project.

There are a lot of things we will have to do to live within our reduced budget. Generating income is a key part of that.

The idea is to buy buildings – like office blocks, supermarkets and pubs – and lease them out and take rent to ensure the council keeps bringing in money.

The £30m would be borrowed rather than taken from existing cash reserves.

It comes as the government ploughs continues its austerity agenda and reduces the grants it gives out to councils.

The city council was forced to make £13.1m of savings in this year’s budget and millions more will need to be shaved off going forward.

Tory planning, regeneration and economic development boss, Councillor Luke Stubbs, said: ‘One advantage we have as a local authority is we can borrow money cheaply. It makes financial sense to borrow money and borrow money generating assets.

‘In these difficult times, that will go towards offsetting our savings targets.

‘There are a lot of things we will have to do to live within our reduced budget. Generating income is a key part of that.’

Ukip has already called for the council to consider buying pubs in order to protect them and in return take an income.

But Lib Dem planning spokesman, Cllr Ben Dowling, said the council has already got unused property like Drift in the City.

He said: ‘Essentially it’s a positive step in the right direction, because the council needs to be innovative in terms of how it gets its funding.

‘But we don’t want to end up buying when we are not utilising assets we already have.’

Fareham Borough Council has spent £8m buying supermarkets.

The proposal will be discussed by the Tory cabinet on Friday at Portsmouth Guildhall from 1pm.