February 2017 saw the release of the State of the Estate report which assesses the efficiency and sustainability of the property in the government’s estate. This year’s report highlighted a reduction of over 300,000 square metres of estate – the equivalent of seven Wembley stadiums – and vacant estate declining by over a third to just 1.4%.
Key to these savings has been the Government Hubs Programme, which will transform the way the Civil Service works by accommodating several government departments in one building, across the country. By bringing several different departments to work alongside each other in one building, the Government Hubs Programme will encourage greater collaboration and productivity in the Civil Service.
The programme aims to deliver over a billion pounds of savings to the taxpayer, free up land for housing and reduce government buildings from 800 to around 200 by 2022. It is also looking to secure receipts in excess of £5Bn by 2020, which will release land sufficient for 160,000 homes.
Just this week the government reaffirmed its commitment to the programme by signing a 25 year lease at the Central Square development in Cardiff. This announcement comes weeks after a new lease was signed in Edinburgh, further demonstrating the UK Government’s commitment to building a strong Civil Service outside London.
The UK Government has agreed to lease 265,000 square feet in the brand new, Cardiff city centre development, which will accommodate over 4,000 public servants from several different UK Government departments. HMRC will be the majority occupier and Central Square will become one of their regional centres. The office will be ready by 2020 for civil servants to occupy.
This major deal is the largest ever pre-let in Cardiff and represents a significant regeneration opportunity for the Welsh capital. In addition, by consolidating office space in Wales it will deliver millions of pounds of savings to the taxpayer.
Minister for Government Resilience and Efficiency, Caroline Nokes, said: “This Government is committed to delivering the best quality public services in every corner of the UK, and today’s announcement is an important step towards that.
“This new lease is great news for Cardiff, and will deliver a range of benefits to people in Cardiff, from improved public space and transport to better access to the Principality Stadium from the station.”
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, commented: “The UK Government already has a significant footprint in Wales and I believe that basing several departments in a single office in the centre of Cardiff demonstrates the impact we can make through greater collaboration. This will not only lead to better integration between departments and create an obvious cost-saving for the taxpayer, but will also send a clear message that the UK Government is visible, accessible and helping to improve people’s lives in Wales.”
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