Chancellor George Osborne has stated the UK government’s intention to make further efficiency savings of £10 billion.
In his Autumn statement the chancellor said the government had cut administration costs by 40 per cent since it came to power, and there would be further public spending cuts.
“There’s going to have to be very substantial savings in public spending,” he said.
Osborne said the deficit would fall over the coming years before becoming a £4 billion surplus in 2019, though this depends on the outcome of next year’s general election.
“People are saying it will be impossible to achieve these kinds of savings,” said Osborne. “In fact, we have come in under budget every year.”
Osborne provided no further details on how the £10 billion will be achieved, but a Cabinet Office report said the figure could be achieved in 2017/18, with the potential for £15 to £20 billion of savings for 2019/20 “if HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office work effectively together as a corporate centre”.
The report said savings could be achieved by measures including increased uptake of digital services, disposal of government property, tackling fraud and expanding the work of the Crown Commercial Service.
“A major achievement of this parliament has been to create the possibility to make these more ambitious and difficult changes in the years to come,” said the report. “Government will create coherent, transformative cross-departmental strategies, which are driven and led by departments with close coordination and challenge by the centre.
“Future savings will be more difficult to achieve, and will require government to be more creative with how it delivers public services, from a stronger push on digital technology to introducing structural and transformational reform in government departments, agencies and public bodies.”