The government has potential to save at least £30bn a year

The Centre for Policy Studies has set out nine practical ideas for savings or asset sales which would deliver £30 billion a year to the Treasury without impacting frontline services.

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, there will inevitably be calls for further tax rises to fill the gap in the nation’s finances. The Centre for Policy Studies think tank’s new report outlines nine areas where the government could make easy savings, or realise extra value, without increasing the burden on ordinary families and small businesses.

The proposals being put forward include: replacing the pensions triple lock with a double lock, and reducing the Winter Fuel Payment for richer pensioners; forcing government departments to reduce admin costs at the same rate as the private sector; cutting the number of quangos and combining their back-office functions; streamlining local government and its administrative costs; improving e-procurement and data-sharing; and selling a small proportion of public sector land, and replacing dilapidated schools, hospitals etc.

On top of the five per cent savings that the Chancellor asked each department to produce at the start of the year, this £30 billion a year should give the Chancellor much-needed headroom to cope with the increased spending and decreased tax revenues that result from the coronavirus lockdown and associated support measures.

Alex Morton, head of Policy at the CPS, said: “Taxes are already at historic highs, and any further increases risks choking off any post-Covid recovery. The government must re-examine its existing spending and ensure it is getting good value before considering raising tax further still. This package of savings is simultaneously radical but realistic – delivering better value for money for voters and allowing the government to continue funding its priorities. We strongly encourage the Chancellor and his team to explore our suggestions ahead of the Spending Review and Budget, and to identify any further savings that can be made.”