More than 150 councils join Whitehall property sharing programme

12 Oct 16
Half of all councils in England are now part of the government’s One Public Estate programme following the latest expansion of the property sharing scheme, the Cabinet Office has announced.

The Whitehall department and the Local Government Association said today that 159 councils were now involved in the scheme, which brings town halls and central government departments together to devise ways to use the local public sector estate more efficiently. It was first launched in June 2013, and an extension of the scheme last July was heralded as the beginning of a national rollout of the scheme. This means 50% of councils in England have now taken part in the project, according to the Cabinet Office.

Projections under the scheme highlight that authorities in the programme will be able to raise £138m in capital receipts from land and property sales over five years, as well as save £56m in running costs, and release land for 16,500 homes.

Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer said the scheme had also helped deliver better services for local people.

“This funding will create important initiatives that integrate public services, boost local economies and deliver cost savings for local councils and taxpayers,” he added. “My team are working closely with government departments to ensure that One Public Estate is helping to deliver government priorities such as health and social care integration and rationalisation of the defence estate.”

Under the expanded scheme, £7.5m has been awarded to 37 partnerships made up of councils and public sector bodies to support initiatives to share buildings and other property and release surplus and under-used land. This follows the £31m allocated to the scheme at last year’s Autumn Statement.

LGA chair Lord Porter said local government was demonstrating leadership in unlocking savings through the scheme.

“The extra money being made available for even more councils to join the programme will bring us closer to achieving our ambition to have all councils signed up by 2018, driving growth in their areas through the strong local leadership that we’ve already seen in the early phases of the programme,” he added.

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