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Ulster Bank Sell/Lease back not value for taxpayers money - McKay

20 June, 2013

Sinn Féin Chair of the Assembly Finance Committee, Daithí McKay has said that the decision by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to sell off and lease back its Belfast and Dublin properties is not good value for taxpayers money.

Daithí McKay said:

"The decision to sell off and lease back properties in Belfast and Dublin, taken by RBS, the parent company of Ulster Bank and 86% owned by austerity weary taxpayers does not make god business sense.

"The corporate Headquarters on Stranmillis Road in Belfast is expected to sell for around £8million and be leased back by RBS for £783,000 annually.

"Ulster Bank is also selling and leasing back its bank at College Green in central Dublin, seeking offers over €10.75m (£9.22m) with an annual payback lease of €840,000 (£719,000)

"This decision follows similar transactions by Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland who are also almost wholly owned by taxpayers.

"The rational put forward by these banks for selling off taxpayers assets is that it 'enables corporate bodies to raise capital through the business but, unlike a loan, it does not have to be paid back'.

"Could the people who took this decision please explain to the taxpayer who own these buildings what the lease back payments of £783,000 and £719,000 represent if they are not pay back? Considering that these payments over the period of the leases total almost exactly the revenue raised by the sales and thereafter will represent pure profit to the buyers, how can RBS claim that this is good value for taxpayers money?"

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