§ Dr. Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many empty buildings his Department currently owns; what is the cost of insuring and securing these buildings; how many were designed as residential properties; and what was the total amount spent by his Department on empty property taxes in each of the last five years. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
Property Holdings is responsible for the whole of the Government civil office estate known as the common user (office) estate in which Government Departments and their agencies are housed. At 31 December 1995 there were 195 empty buildings on the CUE, 38 owned by the Government and the remainder held on lease.
As a general rule, the Government carry their own insurance risk. Where premises are leasehold, some landlords require formal insurance cover. This invariably forms part of the service charges. The security and insurance elements within such charges cannot readily be disaggregated and consolidated without disproportionate cost.
Until vacation the empty properties on the CUE have been used by the Government as business premises. An assessment of their original design criteria is not available centrally.
The Government make a contribution in lieu of rates on their CUE properties. The figures for payments of CILOR made by Property Holdings on its vacant space, leased and owned, are as follows:
- 1991–92: £16.0 million
- 1992–93: £18.0 million
- 1993–94: £17.2 million
- 1994–95: £15.0 million
- 1995–96: £24.6 million (estimate)