“Councils own a very wide range of assets that people will be familiar with...but equally, as an accident of history, councils hold a wide range of other assets that you wouldn't normally imagine.”
mark williams, PA government finance and commercial expert
PA Consulting Group’s Mark Williams, government finance and commercial expert, is interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. The programme looks at how councils in England and Wales can respond to Government orders to cut spending by more than a quarter between 2011 and 2015 and examines how, although councils may be cash strapped, they are not asset poor.
The BBC’s business reporter, Rebecca Marston, explains that the Governments’ targets are prompting more creative thinking and that assets such as town halls are easy to spot and value. She explains that these assets are estimated by the government to be worth £250million pounds.
Mark points out that there is another interesting collection of assets that could be worth as much again. He says that councils have a number of untapped and hidden assets that - if harnessed - could double their known asset pile to £500bn.
Mark comments: “Councils own a very wide range of assets that people will be familiar with such as town halls and community facilities, but equally, as an accident of history, councils hold a wide range of other assets that you wouldn't normally imagine.”
Mark explains that governments hold stakes in assets including airports, football clubs, art collections, restaurants, pubs and shopping centres. “In terms of total numbers, there will potentially be more than £500billion worth of assets,” says Mark.
To listen to the interview, please click here and listen from 23 minutes and 30 seconds.
To read an online version of the report, click here.