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Government buildings that have been empty for more than ten years are costing taxpayers thousands of pounds, according to ministers. The Cabinet Office says that two Department of Transport offices have been left unoccupied since 1999, with a government building that has been unused since 2005 has cost taxpayers £180,000 in rent.
More than 800 buildings have been sold off since the current UK government came to power, and ministers say that they are “getting a grip” on the issue. In September, a review of the property estate of the UK government found that over 456,000 square metres of office space at approximately 550 sites across the country were empty. Many of the identified spaces have not been occupied for over ten years and are costing large sums of taxpayer money. A Ministry of Justice building situated in South London has not been used for eight years since 2004, and it is costing the taxpayer as much as £18,000 per annum in rent, as well as business rates and other charges.
“It is outrageous that taxpayers are paying for hundreds of thousands of square metres of office space to stand empty for years on end,” says the campaign director of the Taxpayer’s Alliance, Emma Boon. “Office space in London and big cities comes at a premium price. Careful planning could significantly reduce outgoings on things like rent and maintenance, saving the public purse millions.”
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