The government has promised to implement a series of recommendations on saving money after a leading businessman's report criticised the "inefficiency and waste" of Whitehall spending.
Sir Philip Green (pictured), the owner of Bhs and Topshop, told ministers they could save hundreds of millions of pounds by slashing vast swathes of waste from spending on outgoings ranging from computers and mobile phones to hire cars and coffee.
Examples of the "staggering" amount of money being wasted include the expensive printing of leaflets, booking hotels rooms worth up to £117 a night as well as paying £73 for a box of paper when other departments spend £8.
Sir Philip also said the £2bn-a-year telecoms bill could be cut by up to 40%.
Despite the government being the biggest tenant and property owner in the country, the use and management of space was "wholly inefficient", said his report.
Sir Philip – owner of the Arcadia group – also complained that expensive computer services were contracted out for too long with no flexibility.
In the 33-page report, Sir Philip said the waste was due mainly to poor data and process, adding: "Having carried out this review and discussed it with the senior civil servants I have worked with, they all believe that it is impossible for the civil service to operate efficiently with the current processes in place."
"We needed a report to tell us that? I don't think so. I wonder how much Mr Green charged to tell us that? I am staggered by the waste I see in organisations like PCTs and local councils – I have a background in the real world!" – Name and address withheld