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Councils awarded £9m from OPE fund to drive estates efficiency

Councils will receive £8.7m funding to improve public services, stimulate economic growth and free up land for new homes, the government has announced.

The funding has been allocated from the One Public Estate (OPE) programme, a partnership between the Cabinet Office and the LGA.

The initiative will benefit 56 council-led partnerships, allowing them to use publicly-owned land and buildings more efficiently.

As well as the extra cash, OPE will give local authorities access to practical support and expertise to help them develop and deliver “ambitious property programmes to benefit their communities.”

The programme, which was launched in 2013, has grown from 12 areas, to support over 90% of councils with the new projects announced yesterday.

It is expected that by 2020, partnerships on the programme will deliver £615m in capital receipts, £158m running costs savings, create 44,000 new jobs and release land for 25,000 new homes.

Caroline Cokes, minister for government resilience and efficiency, explained: “When I launched this application round in August I hoped that new funding and the obvious benefits of the programme would grab the attention of councils and boost the numbers getting involved.

“I’m delighted to see that we now have over 90% of councils on board, up from around three-quarters previously. People in many more communities will feel the benefits of new housing, better public services and efficiency as a result.”

Cllr Nick Forbes, senior vice chair of the LGA, said that councils can transform communities with the right funding and support, ensuring that they prosper and are enjoyable places to live.

“OPE is a good example of providing coordinated backing for councils and I am glad that so many of them are taking part in this important initiative,” he added. “I look forward to this programme’s results.”

Top image: Empato

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