Consolidation of state properties boosts London economy by £3.5bn

Whitehall,_LondonAccording to a new report from property consultancy Knight Frank into the impact of the Government’s policy of consolidating and improving the management of the public sector estate in London, the economy has been boosted by as much as £3.5 billion. The study has reviewed the results of the work carried out by the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group at 16 properties in central London including the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for International Development, the Land Registry and the Crown Prosecution Service. Many of these sites were seen as dated and have now been redeveloped for use by other organisations.

Amongst the projects highlighted in the report was Kingsgate House in Victoria Street which is being converetd into a 15-storey block of flats, the Land Registry’s HQ at Lincoln’s Inn Fields which is now home to part of the London School of Economics and the Crown Prosecution Service offices at Ludgate Hill which is being demolished to make way for a 380,000 square foot mixed use development.

In its report Knight Frank claims that almost £1bn has been invested by the private sector in the developments with other benefits including additional work for building and construction firms, additional rates and council tax as well as general planning gains.

Announcing the results of the report Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “My department’s Efficiency and Reform Group has helped save over £640m for the taxpayer by getting to grips with our property estate and selling over 250 surplus buildings. This is part of an overall strategy which has saved the taxpayer £12 billion since May 2010. Knight Frank’s analysis shows our work has reverberated through the property and construction sector to stimulate London’s economy and they suggest it’s given our capital a boost of over £3bn.

James Leaver, head of public sector at Knight Frank, said: “We’ve recognised the government has been working hard to reduce the size of its London estate. Many of the buildings which have been exited were nearing the end of or beyond their economic life. Government departments are now consolidating, primarily into core freeholds and more efficient modern buildings. The culture in government is changing and buildings are now being shared, often by more than one government department.”