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Justice written question – answered on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will review his departmental estate in order to reduce costs; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Since the start of the Spending Review (SR10) the size of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) estate has reduced by over 600 properties to nearly 1,500 properties. As a result, lower business as usual costs have been achieved. We have removed nearly 50% of the administrative estate from our portfolio over the last four years. We have already reduced 180 to 98 administrative properties in England and Wales including from 18 to 4 administrative properties in London, saving over £34 million a year.

As part of the Government’s Strategic Land and Property Review, Departments have already committed to reforms expected to release land worth £3.5 billion between 2015 and 2020, with a further £1.5 billion expected to be identified following the outcome of operational reviews.

The Ministry of Justice continues to work with the Government Property Unit to ensure that the Ministry of Justice estate operates in an efficient manner and represents value for money.

I refer my hon. Friend to the latest State of the Estate Report (SofTE) which reports annually on progress made during the year in improving the efficiency of the Government’s civil estate. This is available online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/state-of-the-estate

The latest space savings mean that the estate is 2 million square metres smaller since January 2010, the result of consistent efforts by Departments to reduce their property holdings and increase the efficiency of the space they occupy.

This reduction in the size of the estate has been achieved through extensive co-operation between Departments and agencies in engaging with place-based strategies, as well as the continuing impact of the National Property Controls (NPCs).

NPCs include a moratorium on the acquisition of new properties and a presumption that leases will be surrendered at the earliest contractual opportunity. Exemptions are allowed only with Cabinet Office approval if they meet strict value or space-saving criteria.

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