Tagged: Middlesbrough Borough Council

Newcastle and Middlesbrough Councils to make millions at auction as they sell off their assets

> But the bad news is that “the council is not legally permitted to use proceeds from the sale of assets to fund public services.”

Cash-strapped councils could make millions of pounds at auction as they sell off their assets.

Both Newcastle City Council and Middlesbrough Borough Council are selling houses, industrial units and a care home in an attempt to claw back money following a series of cuts.

In an auction next month both councils are expected to make millions of pounds – cash they say will be used to develop Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

In Newcastle, leaders are expected to make nearly £2.5m from the sale – on top of £7m they made at a similar auction last month. The news comes just after council leaders announced their £40m cuts package.

Lib Dem Coun Greg Stone said:

“I think Newcastle City Council have a case for reviewing the property. Given the council’s rationalisation of accommodation and with that there will be surplus property.

“It is reasonable to dispose of these but what we need to know is what the council will be spending the money on.”

Houses on the prestigious Jesmond Road West, in Jesmond, Newcastle, and three properties on Great North Road, in Jesmond, are some of the assets being put up for sale.

Other properties to go under the hammer include Craghall Care Home, also in Jesmond, which could bring in as much as £850,000, and the Co-Operative Store, on Newton Road, in High Heaton, for a guide price of £120,000 to £130,000.

The council said it no longer uses the buildings and cash from the auction will help fund future developments.

A council spokesman said:

“As part of the rationalisation of our estate we are in the process of auctioning off former council offices which we no longer use.

“The proceeds will go into our capital investment fund and be used to fund infrastructure improvements at development sites for the future growth of the city and the creation of employment opportunities.

“The council is not legally permitted to use proceeds from the sale of assets to fund public services.”

Leaders in Middlesbrough are also expected to sell property on Brewsdale Road, in North Ormesby and The Park End, on Penistone Road.

A Middlesbrough Council spokesman said: “There is an ongoing review of the assets and we are making the best use of them.”

He said the cash would be invested in other capital projects.

The properties which have come under the hammer will be sold at the Lambert Smith Hampton auction on February 23 at the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square in London.

Source –  Sunday Sun, 01 Feb 2015

Socialist group sets up food bank in Middlesbrough – but are accused of “hijacking” event for political point-scoring

After the growth of food banks, a clothes bank is now due to be opened on Teesside by an anti-Government organisation.

Teesside Socialist Clothing Bank will open its doors this Saturday, at the John Paul Centre in Middlesbrough after organisers said those on Jobseekers Allowance were sometimes unfairly having their benefits cut.

However that has been countered by the town’s parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party Simon Clarke who said that in fact benefits are being processed more quickly under the Conservative-led government.

One of the organisers of the clothing bank, Anna Thorne, said statistics showed that 46 per cent of dole claimants in Middlesbrough had been sanctioned for being late or missing an appointment for sometimes valid reasons. That can lead to claimants having their benefits cut for six weeks to three months which was causing hardship.

> If that figure is true – and it could well be – that means almost half of benefit claimants in middlebrough have been sanctioned !

She also pointed to cuts at Middlesbrough Borough Council caused by reductions in Government grants, including the fact the council had stopped helping schoolchildren in poverty buy school uniforms to save £13,000 a year.

Free hot food and entertainment will be provided between 11am and 2pm on what will start as a monthly event.

 MsThorne said:
“There was a council-run event before Christmas where people could get food and advice and I noticed they were giving away a bag of clothes to people and everyone was saying how much demand there was. We’ve had so many people donating that we can’t actually take any more at the minute. We’ve got eight volunteers and it shows people do have a feeling of solidarity.”

A press release by Teesside Solidarity Clothing Group also criticised the Government saying that:

“The project locates the Government’s vicious austerity agenda as resulting in the most vulnerable suffering the most hardship. Set against a landscape of benefit sanctions and a diminishing welfare state the project emphasises that being hard up is not a crime.”

Conservative parliamentary candidate for Middlesbrough, Simon Clarke, said the clothing bank shouldn’t be used for political point-scoring. He said:

“I welcome any initiative that helps vulnerable people and I wish the new Teesside clothing bank every success. However, it is disappointing that some people involved with this project feel the need to hijack its launch to try to score political points using rhetoric that simply doesn’t square with the facts.

 “The best way to solve poverty is to help people into work and the Government is delivering on this. Unemployment in Middlesbrough is down by 30 per cent in the last year…
> That’ll be due to that 46% of sanctions !
… and nationally 1.75 million more people are in work since 2010. For those out of work, benefit processing has improved under this Government: 93 per cent of benefits overall are processed on time, up seven per cent since Labour was in office.”
Source –  Northern Echo,  06 Jan 2015