Opinion

I've been sent some tasty "confidential" information

2 min read

10 March 2010

My corrrespondent tells me that £100bn could be saved, at a stroke, from public spending by the application of sensible business principles.

Real Business is strongly of the belief that a dose of positive entrepreneurialism is needed to spark new energy, better services and improved employee satisfaction in the public sector.

Here’s the correspondence I received at 06.28am this morning (thanks, pal) on the very topic:

“From 2001 to 2008 I worked as [senior financial role] at the [arm of government north of the border]. Before that I was with [various FMCG firms] in a variety of financial positions.

“Government, I quickly learnt, does not do business cases, financial management and budgeting, or people management as is done in the rest of the economy.

“This has severe consequences, not least are our tax rates and our waste.

“There are hundreds of thousands of individuals, SMEs and charities who would like to show government what they can do.

“There are 5m public sector workers, Trade Union officials, Ministers, Special Advisers and the rest who are determined to stop any-one breaking their cosy monopoly. There are five thousand large companies creaming off sizeable profits and doing so because government is a seriously unintelligent client and purchaser.

“Unleashing the small guys is therefore not going to happen overnight. However, what I and probably 99 other people across the UK could point out to you and anyone who would listen is where you would save the first 100bn of cost.

“The politicians will not listen – they are terrified to say anything this close to an election other than platitudes.”

Now I’ll forgive my correspondent his conspiracy theories in the final para, but his llne that – “There are hundreds of thousands of individuals, SMEs and charities who would like to show government what they can do” – can’t bettered.

Deep within the clever, inventive, sometimes reticent, thrifty British psyche is the growing sense that we’re being sold a pup when it comes to public services. From tabloidese outrage about rubbish bin collection to the Biblical waste on government IT projects (more to come on this tomorrow from another correspondent), too many people are fed up for this one to go away.