Duty to preserve public capital


Local authorities  have a duty of stewardship in perpetuity over their  financial, natural and cultural assets. Elected members are trustees of this duty for the period of their office. 

Application in regulation/statute: 

A local authority shall not dispose of  cultural assets including including buildings of architectural merit or historical importance,  libraries, archives, works of art etc.

A local authority shall not dispose of or authorise the destruction of natural assets such as parks, woodlands, nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest;

A local authority shall have the right to dispose of financial, commercial and property assets of no particular  cultural, historical  or scientific distinction for a fair price in the open market, provided that the proceeds are reinvested in assets of similar or greater value and utility to the authority. 

The local authority has a duty to maintain and to improve the value of the authority's entire estate.



Local authorities shouldn't be allowed to sell off assets to fund current expenditure. Nor for that matter should central government.

Northampton museums recently sold a valuable artefact to meet its current budget and ended up having to give most of the value back to the heirs of the original testator.  Lambeth is planning to sell its fabulous Minet Library, home of its archives. RTB forced the dissolution of lots of local housing capital. 

The duty would be covered by regulations which would admit of some flexibility but councils are stewards of the borough's assets and they should have a duty to preserve them. 

edited on Mar 31, 2015 by Edward Barrow

Edward Jones Apr 11, 2015

Now we've entered the refining phase, how do you think this idea could be refined to a more concise proposition?

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