Govt. to sell off big slice of £300bn land holding

Tony Gosling tony at
Tue Jul 21 19:28:25 BST 2015

Government to sell off public land and buildings 
worth BILLIONS in bid to balance budget

GEORGE Osborne is getting ready to sell off 
billions of pounds worth of land and buildings as 
part of the Government's bid to balance the budget.

HENN PUBLISHED: 13:19, Tue, Jul 21, 2015

The Chancellor will confirm the public sector 
spending review - due on November 25 - will 
require departments to find a further £20billion 
in savings over the next four years.
For the first time they will be specifically 
asked to identify how they will contribute to the 
Government's target to dispose of sufficient 
public sector land to build 150,000 new homes by 2020.
A document, setting out the scope of the spending 
review, will confirm plans for extra investment in the NHS and defence.
However it will also point out that the Ministry 
of Defence alone currently owns around one per 
cent of all the land in the UK - some 227,300 hectares.
Altogether, despite £1.7 billion worth of land 
and property sales in the last parliament, the 
Government still owns more than £300 billion 
worth of land and buildings it will say.
Mr Osborne will say that the further savings - 
which follow the £12 billion in welfare cuts and 
£5billion savings from tackling tax avoidance 
announced in the Budget - will complete the 
Conservatives' plan to eliminate the deficit in the public finances.
He will argue the strength of Britain's economic 
recovery means that the time is right to press on 
with plans to run the biggest structural budget surplus for 40 years.
A Treasury spokesman explained that there were no 
decisions as to which properties would be sold.
They said: "We're still in the early days of 
this, so we can't say what's going to be sold off.
"It's a matter for each department, and we will have proposals in November."
Treasury Chief Secretary Greg Hands is now 
writing to ministers instructing them to start 
drawing up plans to deliver the necessary savings over the next four years.
Mr Osborne and Mr Hands will say: "Over the last 
parliament the Government delivered the 
reductions in public spending that it committed 
to and more than halved the budget deficit it inherited.
"We honoured our promise to increase spending in 
vital public services such as the NHS and 
schools, and our reforms improved the quality of public service delivery.
"But we are still borrowing £1 for every £10 we 
spend and national debt remains at its highest 
level for 50 years. If we do not deal with this 
debt, we run risks with our economic security."

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