The Isle of Man Government is continuing to achieve significant savings by reducing the number of buildings it owns and the amount of office space it rents.
In recent years Government has disposed of more than £14 million of surplus property and land and cut annual spending on rentals by £1 million, with a further £500,000 targeted for 2015-16. As well as supporting the national priority of rebalancing public finances, the cross-Government initiative is providing a boost to the Manx economy by releasing space for private sector expansion.
The drive to streamline Government’s property portfolio is being led by Treasury’s Strategic Asset Management Unit (SAMU) in conjunction with the Department of Infrastructure, which has responsibility for Estates Shared Services.
Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said:
‘The downsizing of the Government’s estate is an important part of the strategy to reduce costs and ensure we are running ourselves as effectively as possible. This is a positive example of joined-up Government, with Departments working together to produce real savings.’
‘Estates Shared Services and SAMU are continuing to identify opportunities to better utilise Government’s assets. Efficiencies are being achieved by merging services, relocating staff and consolidating office and storage facilities. This is enabling us to free up prime sites for redevelopment and vacate leased premises, generating savings for the Department and substantial capital receipts for Treasury.’
The reduced size of the estate is helping the Department of Infrastructure to drive costs down further by cutting spending on rates and energy costs. In 2014-15, Estate Shared Services reduced its net expenditure by more than £1.5 million, which helped the Department to achieve its overall budget savings target of £6 million.
Minister Gawne said:
‘The Department is responsible for managing more than £1 billion of assets, which includes an extremely varied property holding. Working with SAMU to maximise the use of our resources is a key element in efforts to modernise, restructure and consolidate Government services.’
‘Considerable income has been generated by selling office premises, former police stations and retail outlets. These disposals are part of a considered strategic programme. Sites and buildings that are identified as essential to the delivery of Government services into the future will be retained.’