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Departmental Assets

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assets of his Department are planned to be sold in each year from 2009-10 to 2013-14; what the (a) description and (b) book value of each such asset is; what the expected revenue from each such sale is; and if he will make a statement. (300201)

The Treasury set the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) a property sales target of £18 million for each of the three financial years 2008-11. In 2008-09 disposal of land and buildings by the FCO generated over £61 million, exceeding the full three-year target by £7 million.

FCO's revised 2009-10 property sales target is £8 million of which we have already sold £5.632 million. This is made up of three office buildings, one residence, eight units of staff accommodation, one amenity building and two plots of land at various overseas Posts. A further £3 million (approximately) former office building is under offer.

For financial years 2010-11 to 2013-14 our asset managers have identified, and intend selling, 106 properties as potentially redundant. Their current book values total £71 million. The properties comprises four office buildings, six Heads of Post residences, 86 units of staff accommodation, four plots of land, three amenity complexes and three ancillary buildings.

More sales are likely to arise as part of our active asset management. We continue to keep our entire property portfolio under review, ensuring it provides value for money, fitness for purpose, and security for our staff.

In order to maximise the price received for the sale of our assets, it is not our policy to release details of our sales programme, nor the price we expect to receive, in advance of formal marketing. Details of sales completed are reported quarterly to the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The book value for each property is usually based on open market value as assessed by independent chartered surveyors commissioned as part of our rolling programme of estate revaluations. In most cases, this gives the best indicator of anticipated revenue.