Civil servants could cut the cost of government by £70bn in seven years just by making more use of computer technology, a think-tank report out today claims.
The ambitious claim that the internet could knock £10bn every year off the cost of government is almost 10 times what the Cabinet Office hopes can be achieved.
The report, Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger, published by Policy Exchange, highlights ways government departments waste money by using too much paper.
Offenders include the Crown Prosecution Service, which prints a million sheets of paper every day, the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency, where “two articulated trucks loaded with letters and paper pull in every day”, and the Passport Office, which prints out forms filled in online and posts them back to applicants to sign.
The report was welcomed by the Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, though his estimate of a potential saving of £1.2bn by 2015 was more modest.
He said: “We estimate shifting government transactions to digital channels can save £1.2bn by 2015.”