National Audit Office saves £1.3bn of public money

The news comes in the government watchdog’s annual report which reveals it has managed to save £1.3bn of taxpayers money over the last three years.

Savings made by the NAO include £120m in 1999 cut from the bill for prematurely retiring teachers and £25m a year from April 2000 saved by electricity customers following recommendations to the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets.

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said: ‘The backdrop of all we do is of course our contribution to the accountability process. The audit regime provides a vital safeguard for taxpayers’ money.

‘But we also make an enormous contribution by promopting improvements in the way public services are delivered.’We add value by using our skills and expertise to help bodies save money and improve their performance.’The report comes at a time when the government is arguing with members of the House of Lords over the powers of Sir John.

The Lords, along with the Commons Public Accounts Committee, wants to see the powers of the NAO extended so that it can investigate by right the spending of all public money.

They want the measure included in the Resources and Accounts Bill currently making its way through Parliament, and at its Lords stage, but the government is resisting the attempt.

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