The public's principal spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, made savings worth less than half of a tenth of 1 per cent of the public spending it examined last year. That means taxpayers, civil servants and benefit receivers are amazingly honest and proper in their handling of public money, or else the NAO has some catching up to do.
Each year the NAO audits a huge amount of public money - pounds 557.2bn. This represents income from taxpayers and charges and spending on everything from bedpans to debt interest. The NAO says its suggestions for better accounting by public bodies generated savings of pounds 13m (0.002 per cent) while its proposals for getting better value for public money produced savings of about pounds 290m (0.05 per cent). The NAO says its record stacks up well against its administrative costs. It claims to save pounds 7 for every pounds 1 spent on its 750 staff at its London headquarters. David WalkerReuse content