STAFF at the doomed Yorkshire Forward regeneration agency will be given the option of buying their own desks, filing cabinets and computers before they are made redundant, under plans for scrapping the organisation.
Bosses at the regeneration agency, whose regional office is in Wath-upon-Dearne, have been accused by an MP of insensitivity after revealing proposals to sell laptops, printers, computers and even the fixtures and fittings of the agency’s offices to staff whose jobs are to be axed.
With more than 90 officials already out of the door, another 300 are due to leave between now and next April.
The proposal was included in a heavily censored document outlining how Yorkshire Forward’s £106m portfolio of assets will be disposed of before it is wound up next year.
The lucrative portfolio includes the £30.7m Barnsley Metropolitan Centre; 26 acres of land near the M1 at Rockingham, Barnsley; the £3m Porter Brook site in Sheffield; the Sheffield Digital Campus; the Technology Centre at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham and Centurion Business Park in Templeborough, Rotherham.
Among the options being considered are for some Yorkshire Forward-owned land and buildings to be transferred into the ownership of newly-established public sector trusts. The sites would then be managed by local councils.
Other assets could be transferred directly to local authorities, who would then be allowed to defer payment for them. Alternatively, they could be simply handed over to the Government or sold on the open market to the highest bidder.
But large sections of the document are blacked out, making it impossible for taxpayers to see exactly which assets are likely to be retained in the public sector, and which will be sold off.
Details of the legal fees likely to be involved in the sales have also been censored. The report states the blacked out sections were “confidential and commercially sensitive”.
It does, however, include an option for either selling or donating some of the 4,000 items of office equipment and furniture to staff, including desks, chairs, storage cabinets and meeting -room furniture.
Staff could also be given the option of buying some of the agency’s computer equipment, valued at £250,000.
The document also suggests that furniture and computers could be donated or sold to charities - a move which the agency claims would support the ‘Big Society’.
Labour MP Rachel Reeves said: “It’s a pretty insensitive move to put in with someone’s P45 an offer to buy back the desk they have been working at.”
A Yorkshire Forward spokeswoman said: “We have provided a number of options to the Government with regard to the retention or disposal of Yorkshire Forward-owned fixtures and fittings. As with other assets being considered, a decision on this has not yet been made.”