Green councillors warning about Norwich City Council's badly judged venture into investing public money in commercial property

29 May 2020

Green Party councillors have reiterated their warning that Norwich City Council’s recent spending spree of tens of millions of poundsbuying propertiesaround the countryare both high-risk financially and harmful to the planet.

 

Green Party Leader of the Green Party on Norwich City Council, Martin Schmierer, said “Councils have been facing financial pressure for years due to Government cuts, and this has forced them to look for new ways to make money. However, Green Party councillors have long raised the alarm about the kind of properties Norwich City Council has invested in, such as a storage warehouse and a Travelodge in Harlow.

 

“In the last recession, the value of property and income from rents both fell, so it was clear that these were high-risk investments, even before the current pandemic. Yet the Labour-run council insisted on borrowing mind-boggling sums and rushing through investments which may now come back to hit them.”

 

Councillor Ben Price said, “I have warned the council repeatedly that it should have radically changed its commercial investment programme. I called on them to invest much more in the local economy, in line with government guidelines, and to stop relying on properties that accelerate climate change. Instead the council should investin renewable energy or technologies, which will deliver the sought-after income, whilst making a positive impact on the city and the future of this planet.

 

“It was clear that the economy would have to change, and that has now been accelerated by Covid, yet the Labour cabinet did not have its finger on the pulse.”






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