The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) can today reveal that Government departments could have saved a potential £112 million on their estates bill if all departments were to use space as well as the most efficient departments. The new TPA research also exposes the vast differences in the amount of office space enjoyed by civil servants with the Cabinet Office using 21.7 m2 per member of staff – nearly five times more than that of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Departments based primarily in London, such as the Cabinet Office, may not be able to realise the full potential savings, as rents are far more expensive in the capital. Furthermore, departments that may have recently shut down quangos or ceased to operate a particular function may still be in possession of office space that is currently unoccupied. But Ministers at departments paying more than is necessary should urge their officials to learn from those which have secured better value for office space.
The key findings of this research are:
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“Some departments are failing to do what they can to control their office costs. They are using more space and paying more per square metre than other departments which do a better job of getting value for taxpayers’ money.
“As ministers continue to look for savings in the public services and ask people to pay such high taxes, they must ensure that the departments they are responsible for manage resources like office space carefully. They need to explain why they think their costs have to be so high or take action. Taxpayers expect to see savings made.”