Magazine article Public Finance

New Savings Drive 'More Rigorous' Than Gershon

Magazine article Public Finance

New Savings Drive 'More Rigorous' Than Gershon

Article excerpt

Treasury officials have assured MPs that £26.5bn savings made under the Gershon programme are 'real', but have said checks on the renewed efficiency drive would be 'more rigorous'.

The Commons Treasury subcommittee on June 3 cited a February 2007 National Audit Office report which said £3.1bn of the Gershon £13.3bn savings claimed at that point could not be demonstrated, while there were 'measurement issues' around another £6.7bn.

But Andrew Hudson, the Treasury's managing director for public services and growth, insisted: 'We're confident that the £26.5bn of savings are real.' This was £5bn over the original Gershon target

Hudson was challenged by the MPs, who asked if redundancy payments made when staff numbers were cut had been 'netted off' the final efficiency savings figure. He admitted: 'I'm advised that Gershon allowed both gross and net figures'

Quizzed about the continuing savings programme outlined in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, Hudson told the MPs: "The overall programme is more rigorous because savings are cash releasing, net of costs both upfront and ongoing, and sustainable. …

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