A Treasury report revealed yesterday that up to £4bn could be save by 2013 by cutting back-office functions, in a bid to meet the Government’s plan to save £15bn in “efficiency savings”.

Chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to revise his economic predictions of last November. Tax rises and spending cuts are at the core of his plan to restore public finance.

The Operational Efficiency Programme stated that “the public sector should be able to achieve a reduction in annual back office costs of around 20 to 25 per cent”.

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of Public and Commercial Services Union, said:
“The government calls these efficiency savings but let’s be clear, they are real cuts that will affect public services, people’s jobs, livelihoods and pensions”

Other savings include the size of the Land Registry, which could see the loss of 4,000 workers, and preparing the Royal Mint for whole or partial sale.

Meanwhile, Tory leader David Cameron called the 2009 budget a day of reckoning.
“The Government’s approach of ‘spend, spend, spend, borrow, borrow, borrow’ is not working and today is going to be the day of reckoning”, he said.

On Wednesday morning the Office for National Statistics announced that unemployment rose by 177,000 in the three months to February. The total now stands at 2.1 million, its highest since January 1997.