Delivering change: public assets

How cities can make the most of their public assets

How can local areas use their public assets to support local economic growth and financial returns?

Report published on 26 November 2015 by Louise McGough and Hugo Bessis


The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement included measures to encourage councils to make more use of their assets to support their balance sheets. This report looks at how best to do so, not only to provide better financial returns, but to foster local economic growth.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with partners in cities across England and Wales, Making the most of public assets explores the different approaches that have been taken to put publicly owned assets to work for the local economy. It highlights the key elements that have enabled partners to maximise their assets.


  • Abolishing Stamp Duty on the transfer of assets between public bodies within local authority areas. The report shows that the way this tax is applied prevents public sector organisations from taking a more strategic approach to managing their assets
  • Reforming national permitted developments rights policy to give local authorities more control and flexibility to shape the mix of residential, retail and commercial developments across their area, in order to better meet the needs of the local economy
  • Giving local authorities more control over assets held by national bodies in their area, to enable them to make the most effective and productive use of the full range of public assets in their area

Listen to Andrew Carter, Deputy Director of Centre for Cities, and Bill Mcelroy, Managing Director – Consulting at Turner & Townsend, discuss the report on Global Radio here:

Supported by Turner & Townsend

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