THE assets BCP Council is planning to sell to plug a £20million hole in its budget before the end of the financial year are being kept confidential.

Councillors are expected to debate the funding plans for the current year as well as the medium-term financial plan at full council on Tuesday, November 8.

Leader of the council Cllr Drew Mellor has faced a raft of questions over the proposals to deliver £42million of savings in 2023/24 to balance the budget.

At the scrutiny meeting in late October, the Conservative Group chief was also asked how confident he was that the local authority would be able to dispose of the assets in just five months to address issues in the 2022/23 finances.

It is likely more detailed discussions on the specific assets and sums involved in potential sales were discussed when the press and public were excluded from part of the meeting on October 25.

During the open section of the scrutiny session, several councillors questioned why the administration was looking to sell assets which were generating an income for the council.

The Daily Echo subsequently made a request to BCP Council for the names of the "non-strategic" assets being considered for disposal on the grounds confirming just what the sites were would not be commercially sensitive and in the public interest.

The assets would likely come into the public domain when they are marketed and/or any sales over £500,000, which would require full council approval, the Daily Echo submitted. However, BCP Council declined this request.

In a statement, a local authority spokesperson said: "The council is carefully considering a small number of non-strategic assets it may sell as part of its efforts to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and balance next year’s budget.

"Any assets disposed of will have to generate best value for council taxpayers and would be used to fund the Council's transformation programme, which has already delivered £8m per year of savings and is forecast to deliver another £35m per year over the next 3 years.

"As such, it is not appropriate to release details that may be commercially sensitive at this time."

The council's current plan B should asset sales not be sufficient to plug the £20m hole in this year's budget is to take up the government's 'minded to' offer of a capitalisation direction. Doing this would likely see strict conditions imposed on the local authority along with a requirement to pay the money back in future years plus any interest.