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National Audit Office

Volume 527: debated on Thursday 12 May 2011

10. What recent assessment the Public Accounts Commission has made of the effects of the UK’s fiscal situation on the work and budget of the National Audit Office. (55130)

In response to the UK’s fiscal situation, the National Audit Office’s strategy for the three years from April 2011 set out plans to save 15% in nominal terms and 21% in real terms over that period. In exploring the strategy in November, the commission considered the effect of the cost reductions on public spending and on the NAO’s work on the use of resources by public sector bodies. The commission concluded that the cost reduction proposals were sound, and it approved the NAO’s budgets for the three-year period.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that answer. However, does he recognise that the National Audit Office generates about 11 times its cost in savings? Was the commission therefore wise to create a reduction? Should the NAO not be given its usual allowance of resources to allow it to save more money for the general public?

Normally, I agree with my hon. Friend, but the NAO cannot be exempt from the pressure on the budgets of all Departments. It is vital that the NAO leads by example. Under the guidance of the commission, it is doing as many reports as possible, more economically and more speedily, and is saving more money for the taxpayer.