This story caught my attention in the Newcastle Journal on 31st August: the grade II listed building on Pilgrim Street, Newcastle, which is the former home to the HQs of both Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, has been sold to the British Virgin Islands based arm of Motcomb Estates, owned by billionaire brothers Simon and David Reuben. The sale was made possible by the relocation from the building of the Newcastle Civil and Family Court to Newcastle Civic Centre and the magistrates courts to the Quayside.
Labour are the political bosses of both the police and fire service here. Given Labour's current contempt for the super rich and offshore tax havens, such a sale certainly raises a few questioning eyebrows. So the next time a Labour MP, candidate or councillor makes a noise about cracking down on tax havens or attacking the super rich, just remind them Labour are happy to sell the family silver to a couple of billionaires based in a tax haven.
According to the article, the Reubens already owned the derelict buildings next to the Pilgrim Street police station. They are planning a hotel, bars and a restaurant on the site.