Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford Council undervalues art collection by millions

David Hockney
Image caption The council collection includes work by Bradford's David Hockney

Bradford Council has been underestimating the value of its art collection by millions of pounds.

The authority had been insuring its 4,000 item collection for £20m but a new valuation found that 195 pieces alone were worth more than £30m.

The council said it was in "on-going discussion" about the true valuation and insurance cover after auditors flagged it up as a "key concern".

Opposing parties have now called for some art to be sold to fund services.

The Labour-controlled council owns about 4,000 fine art pieces, with some on public display and others kept in storage.

'Difficult times'

The collection, which includes work by names such as David Hockney and LS Lowry, had previously been insured for £20m.

But an audit report said an auction house had valued 195 items of the collection and found those pieces alone were worth a total of £30.1m.

Glen Miller, leader of the Conservatives, said: "Bradford Council's debt is £631m, we're paying interest on that alone of £31m.

"We don't need to sell it [artwork] all off but if it's been purchased with taxpayers' money we need to look at using revenue from that."

Jeanette Sunderland, the Liberal Democrat leader, said "times were really difficult in Bradford" and the council needed to look at whether it was getting "best value for money".

The authority's leader Dave Green said selling off the artwork would be detrimental to the city's "cultural and historical legacy".

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