The coalition-ordered investigation by Sir Philip Green into Whitehall expenditure has uncovered staggering amounts of waste, not least in the government’s spending on its property portfolio. The Top Shop and BHS entrepreneur argued that businesses would fail if they were run like the government.
Government property costs the taxpayer £20 billion every year. Yet millions of pounds is wasted renting empty office space. London is home to some of the most prestigious and expensive commercial property in the country, but huge efficiencies could nevertheless be made, argued Green, by exercising lease breaks and negotiating better terms. £10 million per year alone is spent renting unused buildings.
Unfavourable terms and unnecessary leases for a number of Central London office properties cost several further tens of millions, Green has argued. Other major areas for savings include IT and the government’s telecoms bill, which he says could be cut by almost £1 billion.