The amount of vacant government property has doubled in the past year, according to figures disclosed by ministers. Vacant buildings range from lavish London homes to anonymous office blocks, all owned by Whitehall ministries or public bodies. Sunday Telegraph

They include four ministerial 'grace and favour' apartments which have remained vacant since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister — two flats in Admiralty Arch, the Foreign Secretary’s official residence in Carlton Gardens and the Home Secretary’s residence in Belgravia.

Angela Eagle, the Treasury minister, told MPs that the total unused floor space amounted to 78 acres. According to figures from the Office for Government Commerce, which oversees the properties, the figure a year ago was only 39 acres.

Ministers were accused last night of wasting £130m by failing to use or dispose of the buildings. While they stand vacant the Government must pay for leases and maintenance, whereas if they were sold or rented out they could be bringing in money.

The Tories called the Government 'hypocritical', pointing out that it was cutting tax relief on empty properties owned by private businesses.