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Monday, November 24, 1997 Published at 14:57 GMT



UK

Domesday II unearths unknown riches
image: [ The throne of George II, one of the assets worth a total of 300 billion ]
The throne of George II, one of the assets worth a total of 300 billion

The Government has completed a new "Domesday Book" in which it has audited all its assets.


[ image: Ipswich Football Club's car park is owned by the Inland Revenue]
Ipswich Football Club's car park is owned by the Inland Revenue
Among the more unusual findings is the ownership of Ipswich Town football club car park by the Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Defence's collection of first world war bandages, kept in pristine condition.

It also emerged that the Cabinet Office owns George II's gilt throne and an underground bunker in Basingstoke, built as a centre of government in the event of a nuclear crisis. The bunker is now up for sale.

Officially known as the National Asset Register, and available on CD-Rom, Domesday II lists state assets estimated to be worth a total of about 300bn.

The register was ordered by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, to let the Government know exactly what it owns - so that it can decide what to keep and what it can sell off.

The Ministry of Defence is by far the biggest property owner, with 90,000 assets, half the total. This makes it a bigger property owner than the Church of England.


[ image: These chairs in the Cabinet Office are worth 30,000...each]
These chairs in the Cabinet Office are worth 30,000...each
Among the assets of the Cabinet Office is a collection of antique silverware, much of it in 10 Downing Street, which includes platters, candlesticks, cutlery and an ink set.

The Treasury says the Register will be used as part of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review to ensure efficient use is made of publicly owned assets.

It is the first attempt to codify the state's wealth since the original Domesday book was drawn up by William the Conqueror more than 900 years ago.

Before the publication of the register, it was estimated that state assets were worth only 125bn. In the light of the new findings, this was a gross underestimation - not surprising, though, as it was based on a guess made in 1947.






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