To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that local authorities are delivering value for money through their management of county council smallholding estates.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether recent disposals of county council smallholding estates have delivered the greatest possible return for the taxpayer.
Defra’s annual report to Parliament on the proceedings of local authority smallholdings in England published on 27 February 2019, shows that the reporting smallholding authorities generated a revenue account net surplus of around £16 million in 2017/2018 from their council smallholdings estates.
Local authorities regularly review all their commercial assets to establish strategies to help meet financial requirements and deliver service transformation needs. We encourage all smallholding authorities reviewing rural estate assets to follow the principles and guidance set out in the Rural Estate Asset Management Planning Good Practice Guidance which was prepared by the Association of Chief Estates Surveyors and the Tenancy Reform Industry Group.