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Departmental Efficiency Savings

Volume 616: debated on Wednesday 2 November 2016

The Government are striving towards their manifesto commitment to achieve £20 billion of annual efficiency savings by 2020. Cabinet Office functions are supporting Departments by providing expert support and advice in all areas, including commercial property, infrastructure, fraud and error, and debt. In addition, I will be leading a review with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to see whether further savings are possible over that period.

I know the House will want to join me in congratulating the Minister on the recent arrival of his second child, a brother for Wilfred.

May I add my congratulations as well? I thank the Minister for his answer. How much did the Government deliver in efficiency savings over the last term and how much is to come?

I thank my hon. Friend and you, Mr Speaker.

We saved £18.6 billion in the previous Parliament. We hope to do better than that over this Parliament. We have made a good start with more than £1.5 billion saved by transforming how Government works, but there is more to do. It is a hard task, but we will complete it.

May I first congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your energy efficiency saving this morning, on the bicycle in Portcullis House, for the poppy appeal? Is it possible for hon. Members and the wider public to track savings in various Departments to see the practical benefits of those savings?

The hon. Gentleman makes a sensible suggestion. As we evolve the single departmental plans, I hope to be able make the savings in individual Departments far more transparent. He is right to touch on that subject; it is something that I want to do more with.

15. Government efficiency savings can be achieved through greater use of new technology, such as GOV.UK Notify. Will the Minister encourage its greater use by Whitehall Departments? (906991)

GOV.UK Notify is another excellent Government Digital Service product. We are putting more money into the GDS, which we are using more across Government. I hope that that will be one of many applications brought forward as a result of its success.

Given that the cost of special advisers has almost doubled in 10 years and that the Tory Government are spending more on special advisers than the new Labour Government, would not dealing with that be a simple cost-cutting measure?

On the contrary, we have kept the cost of special advisers under review and fairly flat. The list of responsibilities has been published recently and the hon. Gentleman will see that that cost is fairly constant.