Efficiency review finds 'staggering waste'

A review of Government efficiency by a leading businessman has uncovered a "staggering" waste of money, it was revealed today.

Sir Philip Green, the owner of Topshop and Bhs, will tell ministers they can cut swathes of waste from public services.

His report, to be published later today, will say that the Government has consistently failed to make the most of its scale, buying power and credit rating.

Sir Philip was appointed by the Prime Minister in August to review Government efficiency, focusing on the procurement of goods and services such as IT, travel, print and office supplies, and the management of the Government's property portfolio.

The report will reveal the "poor quality" of much of the data relating to where and how the Government spends its money, as well as a lack of a centralised approach to buying goods and services which Sir Philip believes has allowed departments to pay hugely different prices for the same items.

Sir Philip said: "There is no reason why Government should not be as efficient as any good business. Any large organisation would want to use its credit rating and scale to buy efficiently. The conclusion of this review is clear - credit rating and scale in virtually every department has not been used to make Government spending efficient."

It is expected the Prime Minister David Cameron will be asked about Sir Philip's findings at a press conference today.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said: "The scale of the waste uncovered by Sir Philip and his team is staggering. His review shows that for too long there has been no coherent strategy to make Government operate more efficiently.

"We know that Government is very different to business, but that does not mean that it should not act in a more business-like manner. Every pound that we can take out of the cost of government is a pound we can protect on the front line.

"Our over-riding aim is to protect the quality of front line services and to protect the jobs of dedicated public sector workers."