HC Deb 05 February 1998 vol 305 cc791-2W
Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is her estimate of the(a) annual and (b) total value of the empty properties owned by (i) her Department, (ii) agencies and (iii) other public bodies for which she has responsibility, in (a) 1995–96, (b) 1996–97, (c) 1997–98 to date and (d) 1997–98 full year. [26621]

Mr. Field

When calculating the cost to the department of "empty properties" it has been assumed that reference was being made to properties that are wholly vacant and not to vacant space within the department. The value of such Crown properties has been calculated to be £429,000. The last valuation exercise was conducted in June 1995, information for 1996 to date could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The amount of commercial rent that is payable on the property that is also vacant, for the period 1997–98 is approximately £1.01 million.

There are properties on the estate that have been identified as having space that is vacant, but as the building is still used to house staff employed by the department these properties have not been included in calculating the figures used in this response. The disposal of surplus space has formed part of the recently signed PRIME contract whose aim is to reduce the overall running costs to the department of the space needed to deliver the department's business.