29 October 2008 | Jake Kanter
The Conservative Party would cut government spending on consultants and marketing by as much as £1 billion a year if elected.
Speaking at the party's annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, shadow chancellor George Osborne announced plans for the public sector to "tighten its belt and save money". This would mean reducing spend on advertising and private sector consultants by £500 million in the first year of a Conservative government and by £1 billion each year after that.
Osborne said: "The whole country is having to tighten its belt and save money. So too should its government. In the private sector when times are tough you take out the overheads. The consultants are sent packing and the advertising budget is cut. Government should do the same."
The savings made would be used to fund a scheme to freeze council tax bills for two years. If a local authority made enough savings to keep its annual council tax increase to 2.5 per cent or below, it would receive additional money from central government to eliminate that increase.
The party also announced plans on Sunday to overhaul PFI contracts. In its report, A Plan for a Strong Economy, the party criticised Labour for using the deals as a "mechanism for concealing bad debt".
The paper called for properly accounted, more transparent contractual payments, as well as clearer guidance for private sector suppliers. In addition, the Conservatives argued vendors should hold the greatest share of risk as part of the deals.