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Savings Programme

Volume 532: debated on Thursday 8 September 2011

1. What progress the House of Commons Commission has made in its savings programme in the financial year to date; and if he will make a statement. (70618)

Preliminary estimates for the first quarter of 2011 suggest that we are well on track to achieve the initial savings of some £12 million which were identified this time last year. The HOCC is committed to reducing spending by at least 17% by 2014-15, and the detailed work on that stage of the savings programme is currently under way, with a consultation taking place during the autumn of Members, Members’ staff, House staff and others.

I am most grateful for that answer, and I know that both you, Mr Speaker, and the hon. Gentleman are committed to the House doing our bit. Has the HOCC had a chance to study the Administration Committee’s report on catering and retail services, and does the hon. Gentleman agree it is vital that we not only raise more revenue where we can but save costs by, perhaps, trying to merge those services from the two Houses?

I have indeed had an opportunity to look at the report, which contains many good proposals. On the two specific points, I can tell the hon. Gentleman, first, that raising income will be a vital part of our future plans. Secondly, on shared services, this already happens in respect of both Parliamentary Information and Communications Technology—PICT—and estate services. I am sure that the authorities of both Houses will be looking to maximise this, as it is a sensible way to save money.