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Shropshire Council set to sell off £50 million of assets

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More than £50 million of assets will be sold off by Shropshire Council under its new commercial strategy, along with plans to find an extra £15 million of income.

The council's proposal was set to be agreed by agreed at a meeting of the cabinet later today.

Under the plans the council intends to sell off £50 million worth of land, buildings and assets by 2020.

It has also revealed its intentions for bringing more money into the council with an aim "to invest in schemes and projects which can deliver £10m to £15m of new revenue income over a period of five to ten years with net returns of investment exceeding 10 per cent."

The strategy also outlines an ambition to generate £5m of new revenue income by March 31, 2020.

The proposal is one of the council's keystone policies as it seeks to raise more money to cope with an ever-tightening budget and the increasing costs of providing adult social care - estimated to rise by around £8 million a year.

A report from Tim Smith, the council's head of business enterprise and commercial services, states that the proposals are designed for the council to take control of its own destiny.

Mr Smith says: "Shropshire Council has achieved significant levels of savings in recent years and, whilst being able to use reserves and one off funding to maintain a short term sustainable position, faces an underlying revenue budget gap which is forecast to be £37m by 2019/20. This is largely due to the rising demand and cost of adult social care services, reductions in revenue support grant and the continuing high costs of operating public services in a rural and sparse county.

"Whilst we shall continue to advocate to Government for a fairer and better funding deal for the county, we recognise that Shropshire Council must take more control of its own destiny and become a more commercially focused and financially sustainable council. One which embraces a more commercial culture in terms of how we think and act to ensure we continue to deliver high quality services as efficiently and effectively as possible."

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