James Forsyth

Green refuses to name names

Green refuses to name names
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In the government’s grid for the week, Sir Philip Green’s report into how to make the public sector more efficient was meant to be the top story today. For an obvious — and tragic — reason it is not.

Politically, the report was meant to help the government make its case that the cuts can be done without throwing Britain back into some Hobbesian state of nature. Indeed, Sir Philip suggests to Robert Peston that a very large chunk of the £83 billion cuts that are needed can be made through savings on the government’s £191bn  property and procurement costs. But as Pete notes, identifying government waste is far easier than actually dealing with it.

This report reinforces Francis Maude’s reputation for dealing with the sections of the state that are about to be cut in the most respectful manner possible. None of the examples of waste are attached to a particular department or agency. One has to imagine that if this report had come from Mr Pickles’ department, we might well have learnt who was actually responsible for this waste.