Portsmouth forks out £56.5m on new property in bid to grow commercial empire

Councillor Donna Jones says the deal will bring in �6.5m of income every year
Councillor Donna Jones says the deal will bring in �6.5m of income every year
streetwise Elizabeth Gullen''File photo dated 24/05/06 of a recent Scottish Power energy bill and money. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 15, 2009. Inflation slid to its lowest level in almost five years during August, official figures showed today. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) fell from 1.8% to 1.6% over the month, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It was last lower in November 2004. Unchanged household ENERGY bills this year compared with big hikes 12 months earlier dragged down the rate of inflation, along with falling food prices, the ONS said. See PA story ECONOMY Inflation. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire PPP-171004-100100001

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PORTSMOUTH City Council has swooped in and bought five more properties in a mega deal worth more than £50m.

The authority has bolstered its commercial empire by forking out £56.5m on industrial and business parks in Redditch, Lutterworth, Bilston, Dewsbury and Leeds.

It brings the total amount spent on property - which the council says will now generate a whopping £6.5m of income every year to help run services - to £108.3m.

Tory council leader, Councillor Donna Jones, said rents from the latest purchases would help to maintain and improve local services - and showed the ‘council had made income generation a top priority.’

Cllr Jones said: ‘We have borrowed money cheaply and purchased commercial properties based on whether they will bring money into the Council.

‘This profit is new money for the Council which can be spent on services that would otherwise be at risk, such as libraries, museums and weekly bin collections.

‘90 per cent of this year’s budget savings have been achieved by generating new income and rescheduling debt so by creating income we have mitigated the cuts to council spending.

‘This council is proposing the lowest budget cuts of any city council in the country and we are able to do that because we are being entrepreneurial. That is what we will continue to do to protect the services that are most important to the people of Portsmouth.’

The deal comes after The News revealed Portsmouth City Council used £739,982.09 from its property investment fund - all of which has been borrowed from the banks - to pay firms which billed for their time helping the council buy property it could make money on.