The Government has saved taxpayers £14.3 billion through efficiencies and reforms over the past year – the equivalent of £850 for every working household in Britain – Chancellor George Osborne and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude have announced.
The annual savings claimed by ministers are the highest since the establishment of the Government’s Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) after the 2010 general election, following a £3.75 billion save in 2010/11, £5.5 billion in 2011/12 and £10 billion in 2012/13.
ERG has helped Whitehall departments save £5.4 billion by improving commercial contracts, £4.7 billion by cutting the civil service workforce and reforming civil service pensions, £3.3 billion by tackling waste on major projects, £600 million by selling empty properties and moving out of expensive rented buildings and more than £200 million by moving services online, said the Cabinet Office.
Mr Osborne said: “Tackling waste and inefficiency across Government is a key part of our long-term economic plan. These savings have helped protect front-line services and get our public finances back onto a sound footing.
“There is more to do. But today’s announcement shows that we deliver on the savings we set out to make, so that the taxes of hard-working people are spent on what matters most.”
Mr Maude added: ” This is good progress and I want to thank the civil servants who made this happen. But we know there’s so much more to do to address the legacy of wasteful spending and renegotiate over-fat contracts which are yet to expire. So there will be no let up and I look forward to announcing even greater savings next year”.
The Government’s chief operating officer, Stephen Kelly, said: “Government buying power has a powerful role to play in supporting growth in the economy and our commercial reform programme is ensuring we’re getting better services at better prices.”
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ” The savings announced today are a sad testament to the fact that for too long politicians have been wasting huge sums.
“Those lost billions could have been used for essential services or left in people’s pockets, but instead taxpayers’ money was simply frittered away. This Government is to be congratulated for taking some positive steps to reduce the amount of money wasted, but there is more to be done.”