ECONOMY

State agencies move to save

The process of saving resources by moving various ministries and their agencies to state-owned buildings is getting under way, as pressure to make cuts to public spending continues to mount on the government.

Data for last year show that the inner public sector — not including hospitals, local authorities, etc. — still spent 155.7 million euros on real estate leasing in 2011, even though this amount was significantly down from 2010, when it came to 170 million, and from the year before that, when it stood at 178.16 million euros.

The main problem is not the level of rental rates, but the fact that many state entities own properties that remain unused and could be utilized instead of leased spaces. This mostly applies to social security funds, which own a series of properties in the center of Athens.

The first agencies to move and save on rent are the Labor Ministry, which will shed 400,000 euros per year in leasing expenses, and the Environment Ministry, while the Health Ministry is expected to follow.