Doing the maths

Something isn’t adding up here. In one newspaper this morning we have a report on the amount of savings made so far by cutting quangos, civil servants, consultants, better management of properties and so on. Francis Maude is quoted at length but essentially says it’s the tip of the iceberg and there will be more savings to be made.

Last May, the Government promised to cut £3.2billion of wasteful spending in government departments as part of £6.2billion of in-year cuts. This target has been beaten by more than £500million.

It all sounds very promising; the savings may be a drop in the ocean compared to the overall debt but at least it’s a start.  However, wait, don’t bother climbing into the loft to dig out the bunting just yet.

In another newspaper we learn that redundancy pay-outs to civil servants cost almost £1bn to date with the average payout being c.£42,000.  The cull of seat-polishers and quangoistas is expected to be completed by 2016 by which time the independent Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the total redundancy payouts will amount to c.£20bn.

Yes, these are one-off costs but, even so, the figures don’t add up especially when you consider many have been re-hired elsewhere in government or gone through the revolving lobbyist door.  There seems little point announcing the closure of one quango only to quietly form another one with a different name but much the same people.  It looks, once again, like so much window-dressing but we shouldn’t be surprised; the last thing government is going to cut is government.

UPDATE: 3rd August 4,500 increase in civil servants  since May 2010 – three times the number made redundant.  Equality, Overseas Aid and Climate Change quangos have benefited most.

Last night critics questioned whether quangos and ministries should be recruiting at all when the Government had promised to do all it could to shrink the size of the state.
They attacked the Whitehall ‘revolving door’ which often sees people being made redundant in one department, receiving a large payout, and re-appointed in another.

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