Government plans for councils asset sales could undermine the resilience of communities, according to the Development Trusts Association. It is calling for assurances that any asset sales will include consideration of the role communities and the Third Sector can play in managing assets.
The DTA, which helps people set up development trusts and works with trusts so they learn from each other, is concerned that in the plans unveiled by Gordon Brown to restore stability to the public finances much of the money would be raised by selling local authority assets. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne has said councils will make a major contribution to the overall level of asset disposals through sales of housing and other property.
The Association, a network of 466 development trusts with more than 500 million pounds worth of assets in community ownership, wants the Government to maintain consistency with existing policies that call for councils to support the transfer of public assets into community control. Its Director, Steve Wyler, said: “Not to do so will undermine the Government’s own efforts to improve community resilience in the face of the recession, and as we know community disintegration only stores up costly problems for the future.”
Mr Wyler said that while some assets were redundant or underused by local authorities, many were vital community resources and councils across the country were in the process of transferring these into community ownership and management.