» Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Efficiency Programme

Asked about the Efficiency Programme s target of 30 billion, the Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) replied that the Chancellor would give an interim report on the Government s Efficiency Programme and in particular where things stood in light of the review that we set up in the Budget, which Yvette Cooper announced details of in the summer. That review was about how we could find additional savings over and above the 30 billion that was already factored into our public spending numbers up to 2010/11, and the Chancellor would provide an update and an interim report on that aspect of the Efficiency Programme in the Pre-Budget Report (PBR) on Monday.

Asked if this would be a separate report in itself, the PMS replied that an interim report on aspects of the efficiency programme would be part of the PBR.

Asked if the review was for the same period, the PMS replied that it was. There were five strands to the review, the details of which were announced in a press notice Yvette Cooper put out on the 3rd July this year. There was a review into back office and IT led by Martin Reid, the former Chief Executive of Logica; a review of collaborative procurement led by Martin Jay, the Chair of Invensys; a review of asset management led by Gerry Grimstone of Standard Life; a review of property led by Lord Carter of Coles; and a review into the role that local incentives and empowerment can play in improving efficiency. The Chancellor would be updating on progress of this review in the PBR on Monday.

Asked which years we were talking about, the PMS replied that this would be over the period of the Spending Review, the current three years up to 2010/11. Obviously these efficiency programmes would have an impact over a number of years, so clearly there would be an impact beyond that as well. But this was looking specifically at the period of the Spending Review, which we first announced in the Budget earlier this year.

Put that presumably the hope would be that come 2010/11 there would be very little left for further efficiency savings, the PMS replied that this was a rather leading question that would lead into political territory. The Chancellor had spoken this morning, saying that we were looking to do more on efficiency, and he would be setting out what more we could do in the PBR on Monday.

Asked to clarify the timeline for the efficiency programme, the PMS replied that we set out the Spending Review totals in the PBR last year. They assumed 30 billion of efficiency saving for the period up to 2010/11. That built on the Gershon Review, which was for the previous Spending Review period, which had set a target for 21.5 billion and delivered 26.5 billion. In the Budget we said that we thought there may be scope to go beyond 30 billion, and that we would be working with departments to see what scope there was. The details of that review and process was set out by Yvette Cooper on the 3rd July, that was when she appointed those various individuals to look at this review. And there would be an interim report on the outcome of the work of these individuals in the PBR on Monday.

Asked to clarify that the 30 billion had already been factored into Government accounting, but anything beyond that would hypothetically be available for fiscal stimulus, the PMS replied that there was a danger of confusing the two issues. Fiscal stimulus needed to happen now. Everyone was clear on that, the Institute of Directors had come out today calling for a fiscal stimulus, and it was very clear, as the Chancellor and the Prime Minister had been saying, that families and businesses needed help now. This was something that needed to happen now, and because of our low debt we were in a position to borrow to fund that. What we were talking about here was something more over the medium term, over the Spending Review period as a whole up to 2010/11.

Asked if Yvette Cooper gave Cabinet a figure, the PMS replied that he was not going to get too much into the specifics.

Asked to clarify that this was up to and including 2010/11, the PMS replied that this was correct.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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