HC Deb 07 June 2000 vol 351 cc289-90W
Mr. Dobson

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his Department's estimate of the annual savings to the social security budget of the disposal of non-local offices from London in each of the last five years. [124401]

Mr. Rooker

Prior to 1 April 1998 and within the last five years, the Department vacated only one "non-local office1" in the London area, where it was the major Government occupier. This was Euston Tower, but being a leasehold building there was no disposal value; savings simply accrued through the discontinuance of rent, rates and the service charge.

On 31 March 1995, an initial release of space at Euston Tower produced net annual savings of £436,694, after the deduction of additional occupation costs following relocation of the Headquarters staff involved to the Adelphi. The final moves, involving a number of units, took place in 1996. The net annual savings after relocation were in the region of £1.4 million.

On 1 April 1998 the Department subsequently transferred all of its property, both freehold and leasehold, to the private sector consortium Trillium plc under the PRIME Agreement. We now no longer own nor rent any buildings. Instead, serviced office accommodation is purchased from Trillium. So now, if we withdraw entirely from a building, or hand back only a proportion of our space, it is for Trillium to dispose of.

In the two years since the PRIME contract began, as part of estates strategies in the London area, the Department has handed back some 45,431m2 of space in both local office and non-local office buildings. However, the only buildings that we have withdrawn from entirely are local office buildings. Consideration is presently being given also to taking on additional space elsewhere in London.


1. A non-local office has been defined as a building without public caller facilities.

Forward to