25 November 2014
The Labour Party says it would sell off such buildings as the QEII Conference Centre and the Civil Service Club to help pay off the country's debt.
As part of a series of savings identified by Labour's Zero-Based Review of public spending, Chris Leslie, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is to outline how Labour will consider plans to realise the value of "non-essential government buildings in prime property areas".
In the coming weeks Labour will publish a series of interim reports from its Zero-Based Review of public spending on government assets, policing and local government.
As part of the review, Leslie has examined the property portfolio of Whitehall departments and has identified four buildings that the report says may no longer be necessary for the government to keep in public ownership.
He said: "It is time to consider whether it is necessary for the state to continue owning a restaurant in St James' Park, a club for the exclusive use of civil servants, or a conference centre. Four such buildings in iconic locations in Central London could attract interest from buyers around the world."
The buildings are estimated to be worth £100 million. They are: Inn The Park, a restaurant in St James' Park estimated to be worth £6.7 million; the Civil Service Club, a social club for civil servants, estimated to be worth £6.8 million; the QE2 Conference Centre, one of the largest conference venues in Central London, estimated to be worth at least £25 million; and Marlborough House - currently used by the Commonwealth Secretariat free of charge - estimated to be worth almost £65 million.
The coalition government has already announced plans to reduce the number of government buildings in Central London from 143 in 2010 to 23 buildings shortly after 2020 and relocate a number of workspaces to London suburbs.
The plans were published in October as part of the Government's Estate Strategy, which outlines a series of measures to get civil servants working more effectively, foster economic growth, and save billions for the taxpayer.
The measures include moving departments away from expensive Whitehall accommodation and into the wider London boroughs. Existing successful examples include areas such as Croydon, where the Home Office runs a major satellite office and the Ministry of Justice is trialling a mini-commuter hub created by the Cabinet Office.