Labour could clear debts with 'lost' pounds 10m property portfolio - News - The Independent

Labour could clear debts with 'lost' pounds 10m property portfolio

THE LABOUR Party has discovered a stash of properties worth millions of pounds it did not realised it owned.

An audit of constituency party buildings, now being completed, has turned up around pounds 10m worth of lost buildings bequeathed in wills to the party and bought by local Labour groups before the war.

The National Executive Committee, led by Tony Blair, has ordered officials working from Labour's Millbank headquarters to raise millions of pounds by selling buildings that are too big, expensive to maintain or are losing money.

The move could help bail out the cash-strapped Labour Party which still has an estimated pounds 1.5m overdraft from general election expenses.

A survey of local Labour branches, sent out this summer, has turned up listed buildings and terraced houses given to the party by activists. The party has even discovered a garden centre owned by a London constituency group and a block of flats in the Midlands.

The property survey also included MPs' constituency offices, Labour clubs and buildings. It revealed that the party owns at least 400 properties worth more than pounds 30m. The party is now compiling a comprehensive list of what it owns. The day-to-day management, and the cost of maintaining the buildings, will remain with the local parties.

"We always had a good idea that there was a lot of property out there. There have been some surprises," said Peter Ballard, consultant property manager to the Labour Party.

"There are 50 to 60 buildings we didn't know about and some more we were vaguely aware of. They range from two-up-two-downs to massive Georgian houses in the centre of London and small blocks of flats. We have found buildings that date back to the 1790s. I was asked to investigate what we have and maximise the assets we own."

One of the newly discovered properties was a Victorian building near the gates of Windsor Castle which is being used by a local Labour club. Labour also found it owned a huge period house used by a local group in Forest Hill, south London.

The property team at Millbank consists of accountants, surveyors and solicitors who have been travelling around the country to advise local groups on how to manage their assets - and how to let unused rooms. But with the property market slowing, estate agents warn that the party may not be able to gain the top prices for unwanted buildings it could have gained earlier this year.

"So much depends upon the location of the building," said a spokesman for estate agent Knight Frank. "You have to consider whether the building is being utilised to its full potential. It makes sense to hive off some of it if it is surplus to requirements."

Many of Labour's grand period buildings, which are expensive to run, are being traded for smaller high street offices or purpose-built premises.

The party has advised local parties to merge MPs' offices in towns where they have several representatives.

In Edinburgh the party has just sold an imposing Edwardian residence owned by a local party for around pounds 350,000. The building, which has sweeping stairways and Doric columns, was too expensive for the local party to maintain. Millbank hired a team to refurbish the building before selling it to a business.

"The NEC are in charge of all of this," said a Labour Party spokesman. "There is a concerted attempt in the party to manage the property portfolio in an effective manner."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week