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Cabinet Office expenditure too high, minister says – BBC News

  • By Georgina Barnes & Julie Flanagan
  • BBC News, Jersey

Image caption,

Deputy Max Andrews has questioned whether the Cabinet Office provides “value for money” for the taxpayer

A minister is calling for a review of the spending for the Cabinet Office.

Deputy Max Andrews has questioned whether the department provides “value for money” for the taxpayers in his proposition.

The cabinet office has a budget of £79m, which has increase by more than £24m since 2022, and its staffing has doubled from 340 to 640 since 2019.

Business consultant Kevin Keen said the spending of the office was “too big for an island of our size”.

Mr Andrews said the office remained a “bone of contention among islanders due to recent growth bid approvals”.

He said: “For many people, they do not understand what the cabinet office is because it’s never been clearly explained publicly.

“When we look at the investment that we see in non-frontline services, seeing a £12m growth be approved in the recent government plan, and simultaneously there is a real problem with health when you look at frontline services that remain underfunded.

“I think there needs to be a reappraisal on the way the government is spending money.”

Mr Andrews said the review must “ensure that expenditure savings are identified and included” within the Government Plan for 2025-2028.

He said the the Cabinet Office needed to be streamlined, and that expenditure reductions should be prioritised.

Image caption,

Business consultant Kevin Keen said the spending is “too big for an island of our size”

‘Numbers too big’

Mr Keen, who was brought in by the government to control its spending, said he was surprised by the budget.

He said: “Very few people would understand it – when I’ve raised it in the past nobody seems to know.

“We spend £1.2bn a year, so I think it’s £240m on health but £79m on the cabinet office.

“These numbers are too big for an island of our size, we want the money to go to health, education, to support the police – the things that islanders really need.

“The administration of all that needs to be slimmer.”

One islander said it “seems an extraordinary amount, so perhaps it should be looked at”, and another said “the concept of a cabinet office is probably a good one… I just don’t think it’s been done efficiently”.

The proposal will be debated by the states at the end of February.

If approved, Mr Andrews said there could “potentially be a manpower loss” to enable enable expenditure savings.

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