Carnegie: Select Committee would welcome evidence


Carnegie Library: Parliamentary Select Committee replies on Asset Transfer


The Parliamentary Select Committee for Housing, Communities and Local Government has replied to Carol Boucher and Fred Taggart, who resigned as the Chair and Secretary of the Carnegie Community Trust in protest at Lambeth’s decision to hand much of the Carnegie building to Greenwich Leisure Ltd for a private gym. They expressed alarm to the Select Committee that Lambeth had subverted the intention of the Government’s Asset Transfer legislation and Localism Act.

 The Committee Chair, Clive Betts MP, and members, including local MP Helen Hayes, had noted the issues in the letter from Boucher and Taggart, including the significant lost costs in terms of £100k of money and volunteer time by the Carnegie Community Trust. However, it had earlier agreed not to investigate individual cases. It had previously looked at other aspects of the Asset Transfer process that hands council assets to community groups and made recommendations to government. However, the issues now evident at Carnegie had not been presented as a problem.

 The Select Committee would be examining a report from the ministry on the Localism Act 2011, which seeks to empower community groups, and would consider if it should undertake its own scrutiny of the operation of the Act, including transfer of public assets to groups like the Carnegie Community Trust.  The Committee hoped that Boucher and Taggart would submit evidence on Lambeth’s handling of the Carnegie Asset Transfer process.

 Carol Boucher said, “It is an important step to get this on the national agenda and we are confident that our evidence of Lambeth’s deeply flawed decision to hand Carnegie to a private business instead of the community will demonstrate the need for Government to amend the law to protect community groups and prevent councils like Lambeth moving the goal posts half-way through the transfer process".