Birmingham Puts Iconic NEC Up For Sale

Birmingham's iconic National Exhibition Centre is being put up for sale by the city council.

The sale could raise as around £300m but council leaders have denied that it is being sold off to help foot the bill of thousands of equal pay claims.

They say that the sale of the NEC Group, which also operates the LG Arena and International Convention Centre, was to help it "achieve its potential".

Birmingham City Council will have to pay out around £1.1bn to thousands of women who were not paid the same as their male counterparts over a number of years.

Under the proposals the NEC, which was opened by the Queen in 1976 and hosts events including the Crufts dog show, pop concerts, motor shows and party conferences, could be made available on a 100-year lease.

Sir Albert said that the sale was tinged with sadness but added: "A key purpose of the city council investing in establishing the NEC Group more than 30 years ago was to drive economic development and regeneration.

"This has been achieved, but now the NEC Group has reached a point in its evolution where it needs to be able to adopt the financial disciplines of a private, rather than a council-owned company to  enable the next stage of strategic development."

Martin Angle, chairman of the NEC Group, said he expected the business to attract strong interest from potential buyers, including those from overseas.

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