Council Assets Include Pigeon Loft
2 June 2015, 05:00
Local councils own hotels, nightclubs, pigeon lofts and even a cheese factory, according to a report.
Details gathered by the TaxPayers' Alliance using freedom of information requests show the range of assets held by town halls across the UK.
As of April last year, councils owned at least 580 restaurants or cafes - there were also 378 pubs on the books, 174 hotels, 259 theatres, 2,586 farms, and 407 golf courses.
In Scotland North Lanarkshire Council owns 15 farms, while neighbours South Lanarkshire own a shooting range.
There's a council-owned cheese factory in Dumfries and Galloway, a funeral parlour in Fife, a barbers in Clackmannanshire and a pigeon loft in Aberdeen.
Stirling Council has its own cinema and the local authorities in Edinburgh and South Ayrshire both have pubs.
TaxPayers' Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: "It looks deeply hypocritical for councils to plead poverty as an excuse for hiking Council Tax when they've got such a huge asset portfolio.
"Local authorities should be focussed on essential services. The time has come for a serious discussion on what councils should, and should not, be doing - a drastic rethink which saw many of these assets returned to the private sector where some of them clearly belong would be a dramatic step towards a balanced budget and protecting taxpayers."