HC Deb 22 March 1999 vol 328 cc95-6W
Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the items sold by his Department, its agencies and associated public bodies from those listed in the National Assets Register of November 1997; if he will give in each case the amount of money realised; if he will estimate the total cash raised from such sales to date; and if he will make a statement. [70418]

Mr. Milburn

[holding answer 11 February 1999]: Items sold since the publication of the National Assets Register (NAR) by the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Departments and associated public bodies are as follows:

  • HM Treasury
    1. (i) As part of the arrangement for contracting out insurance supervision to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), a computer system (transferred from the Department of Trade and Industry in 1997–98) was sold for £3.2 million in January 1999.
    2. Treasury has also disposed of small quantities of IT equipment, furniture and fittings, as part of routine replacement programmes.
    3. (ii) Sale of financial investments has raised £177.5 million. These comprise:
    4. proceeds of £107.9 million, received on 1 April 1997 from the repurchase of £105.4 million (nominal) of the British Energy bond maturing in 2016; and
    5. the sale in April 1998 of the Treasury's remaining holding of 12,411,795 shares in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company for £69.6 million.
  • Bank of England
    1. (i) The Bank is in the process of disposing of its regional branches. The total proceeds to date are around £10 million, close to the book value of these properties.
    2. (ii) The Bank's participating interest in the European Monetary Institute was its contribution (ecu 95 million) to the Institute's capital. Out of this contribution, the Bank paid ecu 37 million (£26 million) in respect of the capital of the European Central Bank. The balance of the contribution was repaid to the Bank of England in January 1999.
    3. (iii) The equipment and machinery used in the Bank's everyday operations are replaced or added to, when necessary. Disposals are for scrap or for second hand value. There have been no material sales of equipment.
  • HM Customs and Excise
    • Of the buildings listed in the NAR, a small freehold building at 165 High St., Invergordon, Rosshire has been sold for £25,000. Routine sales of other assets have taken place as part of the normal replacement cycle and in order to maintain the Department's operational capability. The approximate annual income from the sale of Customs assets is £1.25 million.
  • Inland Revenue
    1. (i) The Inland Revenue has sold two surplus properties, Dundonald House, Bexhill-on-Sea for £210,000 and Montrose House, Glasgow for £750,000. In addition, they have disposed of two further properties as part of Private Finance Initiative projects; Stuart House, Edinburgh and Highland House, Manchester, valued at £0.5 million and £1 million respectively.
    2. (ii) As part of continuing replacement programmes, Inland Revenue has sold some cars, office machinery and information technology equipment. Precise information about the sale proceeds of these items is not readily available.
  • Registry of Friendly Societies
    • Since the publication of the NAR, it has been agreed that some services provided by the Registry of Friendly Societies (RFS) should be contracted out to the FSA. As a result, RFS has disposed of a substantial part of the building it occupies to the Property Advisers to the Civil Estate (PACE) on behalf of 96 the Inland Revenue. It has also sold a large proportion of its furniture to the Inland Revenue and has sold the IT assets used by staff transferring to the FSA. A summary of the assets included in the NAR which have since been disposed of is as follows:

Asset Disposal to Amount realised £
Building fitting out costs PACE 3,611,000
Furniture Inland Revenue 25,000
IT equipment FSA 103,000

Other Chancellor's Departments The following Departments have realised only small amounts from the sale of minor items of IT equipment, furniture or other items listed in the NAR, or have made no sales:

  • Office for National Statistics
  • National Savings
  • National Investments and Loans
  • Office Government Actuary's Department
  • Royal Mint.

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