Tory £12bn public sector cuts proposal would claim IT scalps
UK tech industry takes biggest hit
A Tory government would cut spending on public sector IT projects, office costs, contracts and hiring of new staff in an effort to hold back £12bn and swerve a rise in National Insurance contributions.
David Cameron's party finally fleshed out Conservative plans on public spending this morning.
Tory adviser Sir Peter Gershon told the Financial Times today that £9.5bn could be saved from cutting IT costs, renegotiating contracts and putting an end to relying on consultants.
Additionally, he claimed that the government could save £1bn to £2bn from keeping a lid on recruitment.
Cameron said in an interview with the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning that such savings were possible, and dismissed claims that 40,000 jobs could be lost under the Tory proposal.
The Labour government was quick to jump on the Conservative's plans, describing the Tory calculations as being based on "back-of-envelope" sums.
"It is do-able, it is deliverable, I don't think it's particularly challenging to ask government to save £1 out of every £100 it spends," said Cameron this morning.
However, he added that a Tory government would make changes "along the lines of" those suggested with Gershon but only after consultation with the Treasury.
"The exact balance between things like procurement, recruitment and IT should be decided calmly and reasonably with the Treasury if we are elected on 6 May," he said.
Last week shadow chancellor George Osborne announced cuts in large IT programmes would form part of a £6bn public spending squeeze under a Tory government, that would be used to cancel most of a rise in National Insurance planned for next year by Labour. ®
Same old song
Half the Tory MPs were consultants before becoming MPs, and they'll go back to consultancy after. Don't expect those turkeys to vote for Christmas.
The problem with government IT projects is not the Civil Service, or the IT, it's the government (of whatever flavour). They have bright ideas which they want now, with no extra budget. Forget all that stuff that you actually need to get done.
It's very similar to the stuff Lewis Page exposes under the defence heading, but (strangely) The Reg has no journo who understands Government IT and has the contacts to dish all the dirt. Rather more important than endless rants about the iPhone, but perhaps it wouldn't pull in so many ad clicks?
Meanwhile, is there any sign in all the election campaigning of someone saying, 'We promise no new initiatives until we get what we already have to work properly'?
Is there fuck.
Don't see a problem here, most of the IT projects attempted by the government have turned out to be a total waste of time and money, doing little more than giving taxpayers money to big corporations in return for er... naff all.
In reality, a £12bn cut means a handful of consultants have to prey elsewhere and the money that the government is currently burning to light their cigars could go on, oh, I dunno, tax cuts or paying of the national debt...
The government used to run its own internal civil service consultants, in a body called CCTA.
They were closed down after extensive lobbying by consultancy companies.