Our cash-strapped councils are raising thousands of pounds selling goods on eBay

Councils are selling goods on eBay to raise extra cash, including some goods for just one pence. Pho

Councils are selling goods on eBay to raise extra cash, including some goods for just one pence. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Every penny counts for cash-strapped councils as it emerges many have set up their own eBay accounts to 'recycle' unwanted goods.


From a roll of cable selling for a penny, to a bus shelter bought by a member of the public for £1,500, councils are using the auction site to raise much-needed funds.

In Norwich, bric-a-brac from offices is auctioned off rather than sent to landfill, bringing in £1,389.23 for the city council since July 2013.

One of the more bizarre sales was an entire bus shelter in Bury St Edmunds, which had to be demolished to make way for the Cattlemarket development.

Costing £30,000 to build, it brought back just £1,500 at auction. St Edmundsbury District Council declined to comment on the sale.

Norwich City Council said using eBay supports the local economy by recycling old office equipment. Among items it has sold were a child's Wendy house and an American football helmet.

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for procurement, said: 'The eBay auction process is an open, fair and transparent way of disposing of unwanted items from our offices and commercial premises.

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'It is prompt, cost-effective and allows items to be re-used or recycled instead of being sent to landfill.'

While most councils operate eBay accounts at a loss, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District managed a profit by selling their own machinery.

'Waveney housing team depot used to manufacture window frames, and the decision was made to stop manufacturing on site, but they still had the machinery left,' a spokesman explained.

'We would have had to pay to scrap it, so instead the eBay account was set up specifically to get rid of that equipment, and we made several thousand pounds by doing so.

'Once it was set up a variety of other items can be sold that way.'

In total Waveney District raised £10,587.80 through eBay.

Despite having a 100pc customer satisfaction rating, West Norfolk Borough Council declined to comment on the selection of plastic chairs, ink cartridges and computer disks sold through its eBay account.

Do you have a quirky story about online auctions? Email dominic.gilbert@archant.co.uk

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