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Should the Tory Conference venue be privatised?

Birmingham City Council's total debt is due to reach £2.38 billion next year. You might that that under those circumstances taking action to balance the budget so the debt doesn't rise any further and also to look at the sale of surplus assets to reduce the debt (and the huge interest bill that goes with it) would be reasonable.

Yet when the Council leader Cllr Mike Whitby mentioned the possibility of selling some buildings it was described in the Times (£) this morning by their reporter Robert Lea as a "gaffe."

Birmingham owns the National Indoor Arena, the Symphony Hall, the National Exhibition Centre and the International Convention Centre (where this year's Conservative Party Conference is taking place.)

Is there any reason why the state should own conference centres? Is it really likely they would be more efficient at maximising the revenue from such assets than the private sector would be? These would be pertinent questions even if there wasn't a £2.38 billion debt to clear. Raising them does not constitute a "gaffe."


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