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Public sector property revolution could unlock £8bn

Rationalisation of the public sector property portfolio could help unlock £8 billion a year according to a new report published today.

Leaner and Greener II: Putting Buildings to Work suggests that better use of the government owned estate would improve the productivity of its workforce between five and 15 per cent.

Produced by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum after an eight month parliamentary enqiry chaired by Matthew Hancock MP, the report will be formally launched by communities secretary Eric Pickles today.

It follows a previous report on efficient estate management, sponsored by Interserve.

Mr Pickles will say: Taxpayers have the right to expect public servants to be ruthless in the pursuit of good value - and utterly unforgiving of bureaucracy.

“The best councils are doing everything in their power to make taxpayers’ money go further.  Cutting out waste, sharing back offices and redesigning services.  This report clearly shows how it is possible to deliver real savings and other benefits. The expertise is there, the experience is there. Time to get on and do it”.

The report also claims a well run property energy efficiency programme would deliver cost savings of around 15 per cent in return for an investment typically paid back in two years.

Mr Hancock said:  “This work shows the vast scale of the prize when councils and other public bodies like the police and fire services work together.

“The very best are already doing this, but much more can be done.

“If the best was replicated across the country, not only can £7bn be saved from property costs, but this report shows how £8bn can be generated in better staff productivity and better services.

“In this age of tight budgets, it would be a colossal waste not to make these savings, and take pressure off the hard pressed taxpayer.”


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