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Treasury calls on government departments to sell land for 150,000 homes

Government departments will submit details by the autumn of how they will dispose of public sector land to allow for the building of 150,000 new homes by 2020.

The call for the release of land comes as the Treasury yesterday began the process of finding £20bn of public sector savings over the next four years.

Details of the spending review will be revealed by chancellor George Osborne on 25 November.

In advance, Whitehall departments will be asked to outline plans on how they can trim their spending by 25 per cent and 40 per cent, as well as their land sale proposals.

A Treasury paper detailing the spending review timeline, published yesterday, said: “The government has taken strides to reduce the size of its estate, getting out of expensive buildings that it no longer needs and releasing surplus public sector land.

“This is vital to reducing running costs, promoting economic growth and meeting the government’s housing ambitions.”

According to the Treasury, the government sold land with a capacity for 100,000 homes over the course of the last parliament. However, land and buildings worth more than £300bn are still publicly owned.

In the paper – titled A country that lives within its means – the Treasury reaffirmed the government’s commitment to “protect per-pupil funding for schools” and said it would continue to modernise courts and prison infrastructure.

It also restated its plan to devolve powers to the English regions and said the spending review would “establish how spending can be used to rebalance the economy, including by building a Northern Powerhouse”.

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