October 3, 2014
The UK Government has published an update to its Estates Strategy which it claims will build on its successes of the past four years and spell the end for ‘Whitehall Palaces’. The Government Estates Strategy sets out how the administration plans to make the most efficient and cost-effective use of its property. The first strategy document was published in 2013, but the Government had already by then been looking at ways to downsize and improve the operations of its estate. The new document claims to ‘reflect good progress so far and expands on the scope of work, using the estate to provide better integrated public services and to enable economic growth.’ The report also claims that since 2010 departments have shrunk the central Government estate by over two million square metres as civil service numbers have also reduced by 17 percent, saving around £600 million a year in running costs and generating around £1.4 billion in sales of land and buildings.
The new plan covers the period up to 2020 and aims to:
- Remove artificial boundaries between departments, local authorities and other public bodies
- Work in ways that minimise the need for office space
- Use what the Government has more efficiently
- Get rid of surplus in a way that maximises receipts and boosts growth and creates new homes