Will New Tory MPs Vacate Office Space to Help Cut the Deficit?
With a new government finally in place, the race is now on to live up to the policies promised during the election campaign.
From a Conservative perspective this included pledging to cut public spending ‘deep and fast’ in the next financial year, in order to reduce the deficit and help get the British economy back on track.
The new Conservative Government plans to spend ┬ú6 billion less in 2010-11 by cutting Government waste.
Tory public spending adviser Sir Peter Gershon said that billions could be saved by cutting IT projects and putting a public sector recruitment freeze in place.
However, significant savings are also expected by reducing the spend on Government property, specifically by cutting back on the amount of office space used by Government officials.
In March, Dr Martin Read – author of the Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) – claimed that Central Government uses 30% more office space per head than best practice, and that this inefficiency should be addressed urgently. The review stated that significant cuts could be made if MPs vacated 10% of Central Government office space within their first year of government.
Cost-cutting plans also include accelerated outsourcing of back office and processing functions.
According to a Conservative report, Dr Read said:
“This inefficiency needs to be addressed much more urgently. Property assets should be managed separately and user departments charged for the space they use. This would focus minds on the efficient use of resources.
“We should require 10% of office space to be vacated within a year, consolidating staff into fewer buildings, reducing running costs and freeing buildings for sale.”
Further details are expected to be released in an emergency budget.