September 1, 2022
More than £2 billion in savings will be realised from the sale of UK public sector real estate and other efficiencies, Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has announced. The savings are part of the new Government Property Strategy, which has now been published. As part of the plans, the government will sell £1.5 billion of property assets over the next three years as projects such as the Government Hubs programme sees government staff consolidated into fewer buildings. £500 million of savings will also be made by reducing operating costs, using modern building materials and energy sources, and cutting spend on leases.
The government claims the new strategy will accelerate the Places for Growth programme, which is moving 22,000 civil service roles out of London by 2030. The scheme has already relocated 7,000 jobs out of the capital, including 1,389 moved to Yorkshire & the Humber – the most of any UK region. The Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Department for Health and Social Care have moved more than 500 roles to Leeds (pictured) while the Department for Education and Home Office contribute to around 250 Civil Service roles now based in Sheffield.
Other areas have also benefited from the programme, with more than 1,000 government jobs newly based in the North West and 550 moved to the North East. The strategy also pledges to invest £300 million in grant funding, helping to unlock smaller, brownfield sites across England for housing through the One Public Estate (OPE) programme.
OPE, which is delivered in partnership with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Local Government Association, and has seen numerous success stories, including in Waltham Forest where the site of an old Library is being regenerated so it can be used to build 67 new homes and a central Family & Homes Hub. West Suffolk has also benefited through the ground-breaking Mildenhall Hub, which has brought education, health, employment, culture and leisure services together working collaboratively under one roof, right in the heart of the community.
The government estate is made up of hundreds of thousands of assets, from prisons and courts, to schools and museums, hospitals and health surgeries, job centres, military bases, administrative offices, and many more, spread all around the UK.
The government claims it will also ensure the public sector estate supports delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan and the Greening Government Commitments. Progress has already been made in this area with emissions from the government estate having fallen 57 percent since 2009. The strategy identifies other successes which the government claims have already been delivered. These include reducing water consumption by 14 percent, and reducing the overall waste products from departments by 51 percent.