QEII Centre at risk of being sold off to cut UK debt

London's QEII Centre could be sold off by a future Labour government to help pay off the UK's £67bn deficit.

QEII Centre
QEII Centre

The centre, which has only just re-launched following a £12m refurbishment, is one of four state-owned buildings in the capital identified in the Zero Based Review (ZBR) as potentially "non-essential".

It is thought to be worth around £25m, and along with the sale of St James' Park restaurant Inn the Park, The Civil Service Club in Whitehall and Marlborough House on The Mall, could help raise around £100m.

Over the coming weeks Labour will commission a value-for-money review to decide whether it would be more appropriate to sell the conference centre and use the proceeds to help pay down national debt.

A final decision on any sale would be part of the final stage of Labour’s ZBR, which will be carried out in government, and would be subject to market conditions at the time.

The plans have been criticised by the Conservatives who say the idea "represents just 0.0001 per cent of the deficit". However, Labour claims it is all part of its mission to find a "better deal" for taxpayers than the Conservatives.

Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "It is time to consider whether it is necessary for the state to continue owning a restaurant in St James’ Park, a club for the exclusive use of civil servants, or a conference centre.

"Four such buildings in iconic locations in central London could attract interest from buyers around the world. A future Labour government will examine whether it would provide a better deal for taxpayers if the properties were sold off and the proceeds used to pay down Britain’s national debt."

The ZBR was launched by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls last year and interim reports will begin to be published later this week. The final phase of the ZBR will be completed in Labour’s first year in office.

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