Land sale planned to reduce deficit

The Government is planning to sell public land worth an estimated £10bn to address a chronic housing shortage and help erode its record budget deficit. The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, is due to announce today that all government departments with significant land banks will be asked to identify, by the autumn, land suitable for sale for homes.

The plan is to build 100,000 homes over the next three to four years, in a scheme that is expected to support as many as 25,000 jobs.

The £10bn estimate of surplus land is based on 2005 figures for land values in England from HM Treasury. Some of the land will be sold under a "Build Now, Buy Later" deal, and the names of the first three sites will be announced today.