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Local councils shouldn’t need to sell off all our public buildings, charity says

They want the government to invest in 'community ownership'

A charity called Locality has released a report urging the government to invest more in community ownership of public buildings.

What it means: The charity’s research estimates that around 4,000 public buildings and spaces are being sold off every year - that’s four times the number of Starbucks coffee shops in the UK, the chief exec points out.

They say it’s affecting poorest people the most, as they’re most likely to be relying on public pools, arts venues, and youth centres for their leisure time (as opposed to more well-off people paying for private services).

Since 2016, it’s been legal for councils to sell public buildings and use the revenue to fund their work. This charity is worried this has led cash-strapped councils to make a decision that provides short-term financial gain, but long-term loss to the community.

They want the government to put £200m a year into ‘community ownership’, starting with every council developing a policy whereby the town has first right of refusal to buy a public building going on sale.

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