‘Councils could save billions’ from public property map

It reveals widespread public property ownership, beyond frontline services, underlining the scope for savings and the potential of a national asset map.

Public sector assets are worth an estimated £385billion, with almost two-thirds owned by councils. The Government has now committed to work with areas seeking to make savings through better property management. The Government estimates this could potentially save £35billion over 10 years.

The Government wants public sector organisations, including councils, to publish registers of all buildings and land owned. Local people could use the lists alongside the Localism Bill’s new community rights to protect local treasures.

Results from 11-council led pilot projects, known as capital and assets pathfinders, found that on average 20% savings could be made by rationalising public assets or co-locating local services based on customer needs.

And a recent independent report found local government and the public sector could save up to £7billion a year in operational costs through better property management.

Annual running costs top £25billion and the backlog of maintenance repairs has been estimated to be around £40billion.

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