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Local Government Finance

Volume 534: debated on Monday 31 October 2011

First, let me pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his great work in the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum. Public sector assets are worth about £385 billion, almost two thirds of which are owned by councils.

I am grateful for the Minister’s reply. Is he looking forward to sending his boss along to next week’s launch of the second leg of the review of how much can be saved by reforming the way property is used by local public sector agencies and local authorities, which will highlight that this is about not just bricks and mortar but increasing productivity and spending money more wisely?

I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will enjoy that visit enormously, especially if good food is on offer. My hon. Friend is on to something here: public sector assets are worth £385 billion, and two thirds of them are council-owned. If a saving of just 20% in running costs were made, that could save about £35 billion a year in receipts over 10 years. There is an enormous amount of money to be saved, therefore, and I commend the work that has been done.[Official Report, 21 November 2011, Vol. 536, c. 2MC.]