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September 14, 2012
Cuts Needed to Government Red Tape
A recent report from the Public Accounts Committee has slammed the government for being too slow in making vacant properties available to small businesses and has said that they should “get on with selling buildings, rather than holding on in the hope of a future rise in property prices”.
The Estates Gazette reported recently that around 4.5% of the government’s £280 billion estate is vacant and this is expected to reach 11% by 2020. Margaret Hodge, PAC Chairman, said that sales would go some way to delivering savings of more than £800 million a year by 2020. With several buildings unused, enormous liabilities against these and with a huge deficit problem, it seems that there is a mounting case for the government to sell off parts of its estate and improve the way the properties are run. Also, about 40% of the government’s estate is held leasehold and there are many buildings that are lying empty and many departments and buildings, which can be consolidated to reduce the government’s outgoings.
With so many properties empty, huge liabilities against these and a deficit to bring under control, it seems that the government should be acting with urgency to reduce red tape, sell off unneeded properties and create a far more efficient system for running their estate.