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Government public land programme under fire from MPs

by on October 1, 2015

Backbench MPs have heavily criticised the Government over its high-profile public sector land disposal programme.

The influential Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report which accuses the administration of failing to collect information on the actual number of houses built or under construction as a result of the programme.

The Department of Communities and Local Government has claimed that by the end of March 2015, the Government had disposed of land with capacity for an estimated 109,950 homes, across 942 sites.

The biggest contributors were the Ministry of Defence (around 39,000 homes), the Homes and Communities Agency (around 21,000, on behalf of the DCLG) and the Department of Health (around 15,000.

But the all-party committee complained that the DCLG was unable to demonstrate whether the programme had succeeded in addressing the housing shortage or achieving value for money.

The Department had also not assessed the proceeds from land sold, or whether the parcels of land were sold at market value, the MPs said.

“Instead, it chose to focus only on a notional number for ‘potential’ capacity for building houses on the land sold by individual departments in order to determine ‘success’,” the PAC said.

The committee noted that the DCLG had also counted towards the programmer’s target the capacity of land sold before the programme had even started.

“It did not collect basic information necessary to oversee the programme effectively and, where it did collect programme-level data, there were omissions and inconsistencies, the report said.

Committee chair Meg Hillier MP said: “The Government should be embarrassed by the failings uncovered by the PAC’s inquiry into land disposal. Its entire approach has been wishful thinking dressed up as public policy.”

The Labour MP added: “The Government has no record of how many homes have been built or are under construction. It has no record of sale proceeds, nor their value in relation to prevailing market prices.”

View the report

Roger Milne

One Comment
  1. Kevin knowles permalink

    Dear Sirs I have spent many hours , trying to find more information on the , public sector land disposal . And how to be included in the bid or buy process . Any information would be appreciated.

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