Move is part of government push to slim down its estate

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has unveiled a map of more than 180,000 public buildings as part of a push to rationalise the public sector estate.

The map details the locations of buildings owned by almost 600 public bodies and 87 English councils.

The communities department puts the value of all public sector assets at an estimated £385 billion, with almost two thirds owned by councils.

It is understood the government is discussing plans to encourage more councils to co-locate services and sell-off some off their assets.

Pickles said: “We need to know, now more than ever, exactly what assets are publicly owned. The general public probably have no idea of the sheer scale and scope of property and land on the public sector’s books. In many cases it goes way beyond traditional frontline services.

“I want the public sector to take a good hard look at what they own. By cataloguing each and every asset councils can help government find innovative new ways to utilise them, improve local services, keep council running costs down and save taxpayers’ money.”