A statement claimed: ‘The government is breaking new ground by including valuations of all assets and detailing changes in asset holdings since 1997.
‘The UK is a world leader in this area of public accountability. No other country publishes a list of everything it owns and what it is worth.’
Chief treasury secretary Andrew Smith said the revamped register was central to resource accounting, the new government accounting system which replaced cash-based accounting in April.
He said departments would have to meet the full costs of holding and using assets instead of overlooking them, as was the case under previous arrangements. This would act as a ‘clear incentive to dispose of costly non-productive assets’.
The register reveals the Foreign Office has disposed of Pounds 50m of surplus land and buildings across Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East, the Highways Agency has got rid of Pounds 162m of surplus roads and land, the (now defunct) Ministry of Agriculture trimmed off Pounds 210m worth of assets and the Ministry of Defence dispensed with Pounds 234m of its assets.
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