To own or not to own: realising the value of public sector assets

The drivers of fiscal austerity will continue to frame decisions, and the ongoing reform of public services, for the rest of this Parliament.

Setting out the Spending Review, the Chancellor emphasised the importance of casting the net of efficiency widely, challenging government departments to “examine their assets and consider how they can be managed more effectively, including considering the role of privatisation and contracting out where assets do not need to be held in the public sector.”

Government has an asset base of £1,300 billion to support £700 billion of public spending. While recognising some obvious differences in objectives and function, most private sector organisations, even the most capital intensive such as oil companies, have ratios of assets to revenues of less than 1:1. 

Our Talking Points considers how the government and public sector can best realise the value of its assets looking towards the 2015 Spending Review – and beyond.