The UK government has achieved savings of £10 billion over the past financial year, a 25 per cent increase on their target, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said today.
According to government figures, the savings are equivalent to nearly £600 per working household in the UK.
The Efficiency and Reform Group, run by the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, said it has effected the savings by cutting civil service costs.
Measures include reducing the size of the civil service and reshaping civil service pensions, the centralisation of the procurement of goods and services, improving online services, raising money from the sale of empty buildings and reviewing large-scale projects like construction.
The government had set itself an £8 billion savings target after the last general election.
Mr Maude said: “This government is taking radical decisions to make Whitehall leaner and more efficient so Britain can compete in the global race. Civil servants across government are changing the ways they work and we are on the way to managing our finances like the best-run FTSE 100 businesses.
“I’m pleased to announce that this work has saved £10bn, the equivalent of almost £600 for each hard-working family.”
He added: “These are popular savings which support Britain’s deficit reduction and encourage growth.
“In the first year of this government we saved £3.75bn compared with the year before the last general election. In 2011/12 we managed £5.5bn.
“The unprecedented £10bn savings last year show we have defied expectations and accelerated the pace of reform.”
Mr Maude continued: “There can be no going back to the old, wasteful ways of doing things which we saw in the past. We know there’s a long way still to go to achieve our ambitious plans for savings over the next few years. Hard-working taxpayers rightly expect their money to be spent judiciously.
“The Efficiency and Reform Group are the taxpayers’ champions in Whitehall.
“I am determined to push ahead with this savings programme and I would like to thank all the civil servants who have worked to make it happen so far.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “This is a good result and a testament to the hard work being done by departments in making government as lean as possible.
“There is a great deal more to do before government is as efficient as it needs to be – that’s why in the spending round we will find another £5bn of savings as a major contribution to reducing the deficit in 2015-16.
“Cutting waste means taxpayers’ money can be focused on building a stronger economy in a fairer society.”