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Transport department saves £205m on Crossrail

The Department for Transport has saved £205 million through a reduction in the capital cost of construction of Crossrail.

A Treasury spokesman confirmed the figure was separate to total government construction savings revealed earlier this year, which were £79m on construction in the first year since the Government Construction Strategy was published.

A further £207m is expected to be saved through the lifetime of construction projects procured across 2011/12.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude revealed the government has saved a total of more than £5.5 billion across 2011/12, up from £3.75bn in 2010/11.

He said the savings were driven by the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group, which applied spending controls to cut expenditure by departments on IT contracts, property, marketing, temporary staff and consultancy.

Mr Maude said: “There’s never an excuse for wasting taxpayers’ money in the way it was in the past, but given the size of the deficit this government inherited and the ongoing tough economic climate, we were determined to cut the fat from Whitehall.

“Because our controls on spending are working well and saving unprecedented amounts of money, I’m determined they will be a permanent feature of good governance.

“The real question is: why were such savings never made before and why was so much taxpayers’ money squandered on things like unnecessary consultancy, wasteful marketing and underused property leases?”

Savings include:

£1 billion through the moratorium on consultancy spend and on extending existing consultancy contracts. Since 2010 consultancy spend has been cut by over 85 per cent.

£390m from freezing all marketing spend – except when operationally necessary.

The in-year cost of the government’s property estate was reduced by nearly £200m by “exiting unnecessary properties” and “questioning each and every lease break before they were extended”.

Almost £500m in savings was achieved last year by using the government’s bulk-buying power and pooling spend on goods and services used by different government departments. This comes on top of the £360m saved in 2010/11.

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