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Labour executive to “nationalise” local pary assets

Labour’s national executive yesterday resolved to transfer assets such as premises held by constituency and branch Labour parties to the national party. These assets were typically acquired with funds raised locally, or through bequests from deceased activists and are normally held in trust for the benefit of local parties since parties (as unincorporated associations) are not legally able to own property directly. 

The proposal will cause alarm in many local parties since this would enable the national party, whose financial position was severely weakened under New Labour and is “almost bankrupt” according to would-be Treasurer Lord Prescott, to raise secured loans. This could jeopardise the assets on which local parties depend.

Labour did consult with local parties between late July and early September — a period in which most parties do not meet. According to Jack Dromey, party Treasurer, most responses were “generally positive“. No details were given of these resposes, however, which led some NEC members to question the veracity of the consultation.

Resistance may be expected at party conference to this proposal, and some NEC members are also known to question the legal basis of the proposal.

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