The government is on track to deliver its target of saving £20 billion for 2014 to 2015 against a 2009 to 2010 baseline through efficiency and reform, and by reducing losses to fraud, error and uncollected debt, the Minister for the Cabinet Office has announced.
The £20 billion for this financial year is equivalent to £1,100 for each family across Britain – enough to fund over 700,000 nurses or pay for more than 4.7 million primary school places.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude today announced that for the financial year 2014 to 2015 up to January 2015, the government has already identified £11 billion of efficiency and reform savings, compared to a 2009 to 2010 baseline – an increase of a third from the same point last year. The savings include a mixture of recurring and non-recurring items, and will be reviewed and verified at year-end by an independent auditor, as they have been for previous years. Benefits from fraud, error and uncollected debt reductions this year are still to come.
The Minister confirmed that the Civil Service has reached its smallest size since the Second World War with 21% fewer civil servants on a like-for-like basis. Central government’s property estate is down by a fifth and the government has got out of 2,018 buildings – the equivalent of 1 a day – since 2010. Property assets will now be centrally owned and managed to speed up savings. And an innovative deal to create a joint venture (Crown Hosting Data Centres Limited) for hosting data servers will save up to £100 million over 7 years.
A number of new initiatives to help deliver further savings were also unveiled today:
Since May 2010 the Cabinet Office has led a programme of efficiency and reform, working closely with HM Treasury, to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely. The aim was to make government more like the best-run businesses, so every pound is spent effectively.
These savings announced today follow the £14.3 billion saved for 2013 to 2014, the £10 billion saved for 2012 to 2013, £5.5 billion for 2011 to 2012 and £3.75 billion for 2010 to 2011 – all measured against a 2009 to 2010 baseline. These figures also include a mixture of recurring and non-recurring items and have been verified by the National Audit Office.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:
Spending taxpayers’ money wisely and driving up the quality of public services is a key part of our long term economic plan. These figures show that this plan is working. The challenge to end waste and inefficiency across government is a sizeable one, but done sensibly, from pushing hard on digital technology to vacating underused property, it means more public spending can go on the things that matter most. The job is not done, but under the leadership of Francis Maude, and others in the government, significant progress has been made.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said:
We have worked from day one to make savings from the running of Whitehall. I’m delighted to confirm that we are on track to exceed our target of saving £20 billion for this financial year, compared to a 2009 to 2010 baseline – that’s the equivalent of £1,100 for every family in Britain. We have already identified £11 billion of efficiency and reform savings for this year with more to come, as well as reductions from fraud, error and debt. By sticking to our long-term economic plan we will be able to save so much more in the years to come.
Notes to editors
These savings figures are not national or official statistics; they are management information evidenced, normally, by department reports. Our internal auditors have undertaken a partial review of the methods and processes underpinning the interim savings for 2014 to 2015. At year end, all 2014 to 2015 savings will be subject to audit. Internal Audit and the National Audit Office have performed an audit of our full year savings at the end of each of the last 4 financial years.
These savings are mainly driven by controls applied by the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), which cut expenditure by departments on commercial contracts, IT, property, marketing, temporary staff and consultancy.
The government has also made other types of savings that have not been included in the headline figure.
The Efficiency and Reform Group reports to the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, Francis Maude, and is overseen by an Efficiency Board chaired jointly by Francis Maude and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.