Committee of Public Accounts

Letter from Chairman to The Chancellor

GOVERNMENT IS MISSING THE CHANCE TO SAVE UP TO £9 BILLION, SAYS PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE

The Government could be spurring its departments to make up to £9 Billion of savings, says Edward Leigh, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, in a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr Leigh says that although the government answers Committee recommendations on specific reports, there is little evidence of recommendations being used as a spur to action across government despite the fact that they are often replicable at a number of departments.

Mr Leigh says, "Our recommendations have led to savings in excess of £4 billion over the course of the last two Parliaments but wider take up of our recommendations could reap far greater rewards."

The letter goes on to make several recommendations for savings up to £9 Billion. Examples include reducing running costs in departments (£1.3 Billion), addressing staff levels and salaries (£2.5 Billion) and improved processes in public sector construction (£2.6 Billion). In general, the government can make savings and improvements through better financial management, better information management, reducing complexity, improving procedures, exploiting their scale of spending and improving their outcomes.

Mr Leigh, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee says, ". ..Slow progress in realising the savings the Committee set out shows that the biggest challenge to the Government is translating aspiration into action. Our work has consistently shown over a number of years how efficiencies can be achieved in practice. We are therefore convinced that much more can be done and we hope this summary provides a constructive contribution and inspiration for further action."